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Help - Dog has bitten.....

(13 Posts)
farming4 Wed 27-Jul-11 21:18:40

Hi, we have a 11 yr old working collie who has bitten a colleague of my husbands on the farm.

Basically the dog was in the back of my husbands landrover, quite happy and relaxed with the door closed - the colleague went to get something out of the tool box in the back and instead of telling the dog to get out as we always do ( and which he usually does as well) he leaned over her and she bit him on the face. Hes gone to hospital to have it checked out.

I'm now worried cos afaik the hospital is duty bound to repot this - will this mean she will be pts as dangerous or will the fact that she was in her own territory, minding her own business and reacted to what she saw as a threat count in her favour.

desperately worried cos I don't want to see her pts - shes been part of the family since a pup (we had her mum as well). Advice please.

SecretNutellaFix Wed 27-Jul-11 21:25:22

Firstly- get the dog checked at the vet. Due to her age, she may not be feeling quite as 100% as even last year, perhaps.

Was she asleep/ dozing at the time?

QuietTiger Wed 27-Jul-11 21:28:41

Has she bitten before? I would suggest that you give Wiccaweys ( a ring - leave a message and explain what happened and that you need to be talked through courses of action. Explain that you want to keep your girl and PTS is not an option. Paul will talk you through legal things and also discuss the behaviour with you.

I sould suggest that if your DH colleague does not want to take it further, then you will possibly be OK. Our cattle dog (farm collie like yours) bites, she's known to bite and we do everything we can to make sure that she is not put in a position to be able to bite. Your defence is that the dog was in a place of safety and normal protocol wasn't followed, so he caused risk to himself.

but please, give Wiccaweys a ring.

ClaireDeLoon Wed 27-Jul-11 21:30:38

My parents had someone report their dog for biting (in fact the person reporting had their dog off the lead and it attacked parents dog and idiot person put their hand in the mix).

The police came around and had a chat, in the end my parents were told if it was reported for biting a human again it would be pts.

If the same rules are followed then it is down to what you are prepared to do to make sure it doesn't bite again and your own circumstances. Personally if there were DC in the house I would think hard, but I'm sure you already are.

farming4 Wed 27-Jul-11 21:31:53

Not sure if she was asleep - just had the basics of what happened from dh -don't think he knows for sure as he was trying to fix another piece of machinery at the time.

I will take her to the vet - she was checked out about 2 mths ago as shes starting to show her age esp when shes working the cattle and everything was fine but I know things can change.

Shes never been what you would call a pet - always been sharp but then shes a working dog - shes fine round our kids but they treat her with respect and don't bother her. We have always been very careful to stress that she is a worker not a pet and visitors have always been advised to treat her with caution as she has never been one for a lot of fuss. Maybe that will count against her........

I may be worrying about nothing - the colleague is a good friend but I know that doesn't always count for much when something like this happens.

MotherJack Wed 27-Jul-11 21:42:44

I think you will be ok as the law stands, as the dog was in a "private place" (eg in a private vehicle) where it was allowed to be (i.e. not trespassing). You probably do have a duty to keep employees safe but that will be under another law and may have to address that under it no doubt. You may have compensation to pay if the "colleague" is so minded, but as I understand it it would not involve the dog being pts.

IF there is a problem, and I understand that a number of authorities have a tendency to take the law into their own hands and hope that owners don't understand the law, NEVER sign your dog over. One of the most well known lawyers as I understand is Wheldon's who would help you, but I think this would only be necessary if the colleague kicked off about it. From your post, I read into it that you are worried that the authorities will set the ball rolling. They can't. They might try, but they can't in law.

Hope all is well and that DH's colleague is ok about it all.

Ormirian Wed 27-Jul-11 21:44:14

Fingers crossed for you.

MotherJack Wed 27-Jul-11 21:47:33

TBH I would treat a working dog completely differently to a pet, Farming. I would never allow DS near one, and I'm sure your DH's colleague just took a chance, or was so used to the dog behaving out of the vehicle he got lazy. It's like going up to pet a police dog on duty. No one would consider that acceptable (although I do agree with a vet check as it sounds like the first time the dog wasn't cleared of the vehicle, the dog did what she considers her duty).

SecretNutellaFix Wed 27-Jul-11 21:49:43

I would be very surprised if your colleague takes it any further working in the industry he does. Equally as surprising if he has never been bitten before. Nearly all the people I know in farming have been nipped at some point by one of the working dogs. I have come close and I was just visiting!

I hope your DH colleague is ok and it's not too deep a wound.

Scuttlebutter Wed 27-Jul-11 22:50:33

OP, so sorry to hear this. My recommendation is to contact the excellent Trevor Cooper of the well known DogLaw website. I would suggest a precautionary chat with him - he has specialised in this field for over twenty years, really knows his stuff and will be able to give you the best possible advice. His website is here

Hope your colleague recovers quickly.

farming4 Thu 28-Jul-11 22:05:15

Hi quick update - colleague got back last night from a&e and has stated in front of all the workers on the farm that it was entirely his fault! Turns out that dh had rung him and asked him to bring some tools out to sort out a breakdown in the field and that he had decided to bring the dog with him for the ride - dh wasn't even aware dog was in the landrover until the guy came back covered in blood. Anyway hes had stitches and dh says hes been perfectly fine with the dog today - given her fuss and brought her a bone to say sorry for putting her under stress. Oh and the protocol for dealing with the dog in vehicles has been explained in great detail to everyone so there can be no mis-understanding - if she is in a vehicle, tell her to get out before you try to get anything else out of it, DO NOT lean over her under any circumstances and DO NOT put your face anywhere near her i.e don't bend down to her cos she may have a go.

Hopefully thats the last of it and many thanks for all the replies on here and the useful advice - got it all stored away just in case but we will do everything in our power to ensure it doesn't.

MotherJack Fri 29-Jul-11 00:19:35

That's good to hear, Farming. I'm glad the colleague is so understanding, but the thing about it occurring in a private place is a certainty by the way, which has been confirmed today in the media regarding the Westie that bit a child's face. It was stated in the article that the police were unable to do anything as it occurred on private property.

However, you may need to be aware that they are looking to overhaul the Dangerous Dogs Act and one of the areas they are looking at is the "private place" part and if it is overhauled I would say that this will change and dogs will then need to be controlled in all places and future colleagues may not be quite so understanding. I'm not sure if some sort of exemption would or should be applied to working dogs, and if or when the DDA is overhauled, it may be the time to chat to a specialist solicitor for advice.

Scuttlebutter Fri 29-Jul-11 11:59:33

With regard to the private place issue, i know the Communications Workers Union, which represents posties, has been particularly active in lobbying in this area. Their members are particularly prone to dog bites and I have every sympathy with them. Again, as with so many dog related issues, an irresponsible minority could lead to a major toughening of the law which could potentially end up bringing a lot of incidents like the one above to the attention of prosecutors.

Irrespective of prosecution, I'd still be wary of a private legal action for compensation - there is a highly profitable industry out there now chasing claims.

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