Help please- Dog broke through neighbours fence.

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Help please- Dog broke through neighbours fence.

Postby madamsamuel » Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:20 pm

Help, I'm new to this forum and really need some advise.

My small patterdale terrier has just broken through my next door neighbours fence and killed their rabbit which was roaming free in their garden. I am absolutely horror stricken, and feel dreadful.

Although this may sound really selfish, I want to know whether or not they can make me have my dog put down?

I have two dogs and they both were playing in my garden whilst I was mopping my kitchen, I heard one of my dogs start to whine and bark, and when I looked out of the window, I could see a broken fence slat, and one of my dogs was missing, I ran straight round to my neighbours (it did take me a few minutes as I am currnetly 6months pregnant) and banged on their door to tell them my dog had gotten into theor garden. By this point it was too late, my dog had already killed their rabbit. The mum and daughter got there first, and I can still hear their horrified screams as they came across my dog, and now deceased rabbit. The dad just told me blankly "he's ripped it to shreds". I apologiesed profusely and told them if they need anything at all just to come around. I then went home and sobbed as I feel awful.

I dont have any objections to fixing the fence, or paying for any damages, or even getting them a new rabbit, although I felt it would be pretty heartless of me to offer at this present moment. What I'm most concerned about is that I will get some demand or visit from the police telling me I have dangerous dog which i cant control and make me have him put down. I'm in tears at the very thought.

Help anyone?
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Postby subjecttocontract » Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:32 pm

What I'm most concerned about is that I will get some demand or visit from the police telling me I have dangerous dog which i cant control and make me have him put down. I'm in tears at the very thought.

I'm no expert but, common sense tells me that I don't think that this unfortunate incident means you have a dangerous dog (although the local rabbit population might disagree with me).

It does mean that you have been rather poor in ensuring your retaining fence does the job it was intended for.

If it were me I'd be looking for a lot more financial compensation than the cost of a rabbit and any incidental damage. Be prepared for a hefty claim.......
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Postby WILL*REMAIN*STRONG » Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:58 pm

...........
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Postby madamsamuel » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:27 pm

Thanks for the advise guys.

My husband will be sorting out the fence next weekend, and until it is sorted my dogs wont be allowed out the garden unless they are on their leads. I jut feel awful about the whole thing.

I've just checked a copy of the title deeds (we've only just moved in so had them to hand) and the fence in question is our neighbours responsibility to maintain, my husband beleives it may well have been rotten as the fences are the original fences and about 12years old, plus they have bushes growing next to the fence, which may have weakened it furhter....not that it makes any difference, my dog got onto their land.

Am really hoping that this doesnt go down any legal route, and we can make it up with the neighbours, although at this point i really cant see what we can do. I apologised profusely at the time, and told them if they need anything at all just to ask; they seem like genuinely nice people, but then sometimes situations like this can bring out the worst in people, i sincerly hope that isnt the case.

Still feel sick about the whole thing, and my poor dog doesnt know what he has done wrong. :(
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Postby subjecttocontract » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:35 pm

I've just checked a copy of the title deeds (we've only just moved in so had them to hand) and the fence in question is our neighbours responsibility to maintain, my husband beleives it may well have been rotten as the fences are the original fences and about 12years old, plus they have bushes growing next to the fence, which may have weakened it furhter....not that it makes any difference, my dog got onto their land.

I think you are missing an important point here.....regardless of what the title deeds say and regardless of the condition or otherwise of your neighbours fence.......it is YOUR responsibility to ensure adequate fencing is in place to keep your dogs on your property. Your neighbour is not responsible for fencing your dogs out of his property and would be able to remove his fence completely.

You need to get a fence erected to keep your dogs in your gaden.
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Postby Rowan » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:36 pm

Please don't go telling your neighbours that their fence might be at fault

It is YOUR responsibility to keep your dogs confined and under control

Patterdale terriers are working dogs - bred to hunt - the dog was obeying its instinct - the view could be taken that you should have been able to immediately call your dog back into your garden and it should have been trained to obey instantly

All things considered it has been a horrible experience for everyone - the child especially will be distraught

I can also understand if your neighbours feel the dog is dangerous - having seen their rabbit torn to bits it will take a lot to convince them that the dog will not attack the child next time
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Postby madamsamuel » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:40 pm

subjecttocontract wrote:I've just checked a copy of the title deeds (we've only just moved in so had them to hand) and the fence in question is our neighbours responsibility to maintain, my husband beleives it may well have been rotten as the fences are the original fences and about 12years old, plus they have bushes growing next to the fence, which may have weakened it furhter....not that it makes any difference, my dog got onto their land.

I think you are missing an important point here.....regardless of what the title deeds say and regardless of the condition or otherwise of your neighbours fence.......it is YOUR responsibility to ensure adequate fencing is in place to keep your dogs on your property. Your neighbour is not responsible for fencing your dogs out of his property and would be able to remove his fence completely.

You need to get a fence erected to keep your dogs in your gaden.


Thats what i said, "it doesnt matter as my dog got into their garden", end of discussion, my dog in their garden. But it does help me understand how he got into the garden. We've already started changing the fencing from when we moved in. We changed the back fence, it was just a matter of time before we did the both sides too. Now the sides will be done next weekend to ensure my dogs stay in. My query was regaring what would happen to my dog, not whether or not i'd need to replace the fence. I would do it even if it wasnt my responsibility after what has happened.
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Postby Rowan » Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:47 pm

Whatever you do - DON'T take down the neighbour's fence without consulting with them

If they don't want their fence removed then you have to erect your fence totally on your property and without damaging their's in any way

I hope that you and your neighbours can agree on this
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Postby andrew54 » Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:53 pm

I know you won't want me to say this, but should you consider whether your dog IS dangerous? Would the dog have understood the difference between a rabbit and a small child? Or a baby?
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Re: Help please- Dog broke through neighbours fence.

Postby legod » Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:58 pm

madamsamuel wrote:Help, I'm new to this forum and really need some advise.

My small patterdale terrier has just broken through my next door neighbours fence and killed their rabbit which was roaming free in their garden. I am absolutely horror stricken, and feel dreadful.



I expect there's not much your neighbour can do to ask your dog to be put down. After all, it's 'just' a rabbit.
Just be grateful that it wasn't a neighbour's cat that was harmed roaming on YOUR property. All hell would break loose, you'd be taken to court, fined heavily and your dog would be put down.
Having experienced the anguish of having to comfort distraught children at the loss of their beloved pet thanks to a neighbour's cat, I can understand your neighbour's pain and the fact that you must feel pretty awful.
I hope you get this resolved without too many hassles - it sounds as though you're quite determined to do so, so good luck :)
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Postby Spike » Sun Jan 06, 2008 9:23 pm

A good few years ago my neighbour and myself were both taking our bins out. We had both left our side gates open and were standing chatting when her springer spaniel appeared with one of our free-range guinea pigs in its mouth. My neighbour was distraught and very apologetic. My daughters were dreadfully upset.
It took about a week before the children ( and my other half) came to terms with the fact that it had been a horrible accident, it was just in the dogs nature and had in no way been deliberately let loose. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that you said they seem nice people, hopefully they will come to the same conclusions that we did, there was no malice intended. The dog who by the way was lovely was never allowed out of the back garden loose and we were happy with that.
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Postby hzatph » Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:29 pm

Legod has it right.
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Re: Help please- Dog broke through neighbours fence.

Postby WILL*REMAIN*STRONG » Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:25 am

..............
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Postby hippygirl » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:10 am

madamsamuel you must be feeling awful. However, despite legods post, the dangerous dogs act only covers certain breeds of dog and as far as I know nothing is mentioned about attacks on small animals (cats or ortherwise). If you neighbour was upset enough to go to the police you might get a visit and a talking to about the security of your garden but I don't think your dog is in any danger of being destroyed. It was a very unfortunate accident. I really hope your neighbours will eventually come round and I hope you get it all sorted....good luck.
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Postby legod » Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:42 am

hippygirl wrote:However, despite legods post, the dangerous dogs act only covers certain breeds of dog and as far as I know nothing is mentioned about attacks on small animals (cats or ortherwise).


Well as far as I know, the Act only really covers attacks and threats to humans and police can only take action if the dog was dangerously out of control in a public place.
However, the police can and have taken action against dog owners whose dogs have killed or mauled cats.
But whether that's a result of cats being protected by law, I don't know. I presume it's more likely because cat owners often don't accept the fact "it's only natural" for a dog to chase a cat (in the same way they say it's "only natural" for their cat to kill other wildlife for sport) and are therefore more likely to press for legal action. The cat lobby are extremely powerful in this respect. Meanwhile, the poor rabbit owners don't have much of a say. So I expect it's unlikely Madamsamuel will get a visit from any law enforcement officers to get her dog put down.
Having said that, it's fair to say that a dog capable of killing a cat is more dangerous than a dog capable only of killing a rabbit. Rabbits tend to be alot more fragile and we all know cats have 9 lives, don't we?
Anyway, I think Madamsamuel should be commended for the fact she actually cares and feels a sense of guilt for her neighbour's loss. You generally don't get the same level of sympathy from cat owners concerning loss of pet rabbits, goldfish, birds etc, etc. I wonder why that is?
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