Dog bites can be very harmful to the victimized party, which is why there are laws in place which allow a bitten person to avail compensation from the owner of the animal that attacked them. But what if a dog attacked another dog? Following is a look at how the law handles such incidents.
Are Other Dogs Protected From Injury?
In a word, no. Under California law, dogs are classified as their owners’ personal property, which means the owner of an injured one can bring a lawsuit on the basis of property damage. It does, however, hold as a requirement that the interference with the property have been intentional, which is to say that the attacking dog’s owner must be proven to have had notice of his or her dog’s viciousness. If, for instance, they have seen their dog growling, snapping, or lunging at other dogs for no reason, then they are aware that the animal has dangerous propensities.
Is Compensation Legally Winnable for Loss of Market Value?
Yes. If the attacked dog’s market value has fallen, then its owner can seek the difference as damages. If, for instance, a dog was worth $1,000, and it was attacked by another dog, lowering its market value to $600, then the owner of the first dog can claim $400 as compensation in court.
Does Compensation Cover the Injured Animal’s Medical Bills?
Yes. It is possible under California law for the dog owner to recover necessary and reasonable damages which were sustained during the treatment of the animal. This includes all treatment following the injury, such as medical and pharmaceutical costs. If, for example, the dog sustained $500.00 in veterinarian bills, $400.00 in medications, and $50 in boarding costs, then the attacking dog’s owner would be liable to pay $950.00 in damages, to cover all of that.
Is it Possible to Claim Damages under Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress?
Yes, but only if the plaintiff is able to show that the defendant dog owner used conduct which was aimed at causing emotional distress to the plaintiff dog owner. It also needs to be shown the plaintiff dog owner suffered distress of this kind and level, and that this was caused by the aforesaid conduct.
With all of these legal hoops surrounding the matter, it is best if you have a seasoned dog attack lawyer representing you. A dog attack injury attorney could tell you more about what the court would require by way of proof in order to rule in your favor.