This is a Premium feature
Apologies in advance for the potentially long thread however I don't want to drip feed & just looking for some advice from people who may have a good idea of what to do about this situation.
My grandparents re-homed a 14 month old rottweiler bitch 3 years ago. She was a very friendly dog, good around children, very sociable with other dogs etc.
My son is just over 1, and about 8 month ago, my grandparents were walking the dog on the street where we live and were also pushing him in his pram. This was the first time they had ever walked the two together. They came to walk past a parked car, and a woman on the pavement was talking to someone inside of the car. As they walked past, the dog bit the woman on her forearm. Everyone involved was horrified; the dog had never shown any concerning behaviour before, and therefore it was completely unexpected. As a result, we all concluded - including the woman who was bit - that it was probably because it was the first time that the dog had been out walking with the pram, and was perhaps anxious/protective etc as a result. Obviously we will never know why the dog bit.
The woman who was bit received lacerations to her arm. I am unsure as to whether she received medical attention for them. The police were informed and the woman stated to the police that these lacerations had healed within a week.
The police came round to my grandparent's house to see the dog, and were happy with her. The woman who was bit agreed with the police that she would receive an apology over the phone from my nana and that would be the end of it, as the lacerations had healed. My grandparents had apologised profusely at the time of the incident, and were more than willing to do so once again. My grandparents said that they would be happy to go round to the woman's house, however the police insisted that a phone call would be sufficient.
Nothing more came of the incident after the apology. My grandparents paid for the dog to be assessed by a dog behaviouralist and also took the dog to behavioural classes. The dog specialist concluded in their assessment that the dog was friendly and that there were no concerns.
Last week (8 months later) my grandfather was walking the dog when it bit a different woman who was walking past them. The dog damaged the woman's coat, and my grandfather left his details with her. She then came round to my grandparents house and left her phone number for them to contact her further as she has said that she feels traumatised by this incident and would like a replacement coat.
My grandparents were again horrified by this incident. The dog has worn a muzzle since the incident however I am unsure as to whether the muzzle was properly secured, or if she was even wearing one (I haven't really asked, my mum has been supporting them through it all to be honest). My grandparents made the decision to have the dog destroyed as they felt as though it was the only option after this incident. They also were about to write a cheque for £500 to this woman, as this is how much she states that her coat cost when she bought it a few years ago.
The police were contacted by the woman and visited my grandparent's at home about the incident, where they were informed that the dog had been destroyed. As far as I am aware, no more has come from their end at the minute.
It has been my mum who has been in contact with the woman who was bit due to the fact that my grandparents obviously have been very emotional about the dog being destroyed, although they have been in contact to apologise. The woman who has bit one week ago has since informed my mum that the woman who was bit 8 months ago has been in contact with her (I'm assuming through the police, although we are all a bit unsure), shown her photographs of when the dog bit her etc, so we are aware that they have been communicating.
Two days after the dog was destroyed (the woman who has been bit last week is aware that the dog has been destroyed), the woman who was bit 8 months ago turned up at my grandparent's house with her husband. She stated that she knew about the recent incident and that she still feels very traumatised from when the dog bit her 8 months ago, and she stated that she is still in a lot of pain from this. My grandparents were very distressed and explained to them that it was dealt with through the police at the time of the incident, and that they were very upset as the dog had just been destroyed and so did not want to talk about the incident any further with them.
Perhaps I am being sceptical, but the first thing that I thought was that the woman from 8 months ago has been told about my grandparents writing a cheque for £500 for a replacement coat, and are now regretting the fact that they accepted an apology and did not pursue it any further.
I have tried finding out more information online that may help with all of this however I'm not having much luck. We are now concerned that my grandparents will give this woman £500, only for her to return in a few months - like this other woman - and demand and/or expect more money.
I personally believe that it would all be best being settled through official channels, as in a solicitor and the pet insurance (they are waiting to hear back as to whether their policy covers any of this), as simply handing over a cheque provides no guarantee. However my grandparents want this dealing with as soon as possible, and they also do feel awful for the woman who was bit and want to get her a replacement coat (she has stated that she cannot find any similar to the one she had and therefore she would prefer a cheque), hence why they just wanted to give her the money as they feel horrible about it all.
In terms of the woman from 8 months ago, we all are a bit unsure as to what can happen there and whether or not to simply leave it and see whether she attempts to take it any further.
I suppose I was just wondering if anyone on here had any advice? I am really struggling to find information on which solicitors are good at dealing with these sort of incidents, and also where my grandparents stand legally. I am aware that people can be prosecuted over dog bites, however nothing seems to be very clear on the matter. I know how informative some people on here are and therefore I was just hoping I could be signposted in some right directions - my grandparents are really devastated over the matter, and would like it to be dealt with quite quickly as well for their own sake and for the woman who has been bit, but we all are unsure where to even begin looking.
Thanks so much if you made it this far and for any advice you have x
Advice from a specialist solicitor would definitely be the best option at this point. Try Cooper & Co/Doglaw. They specialise in the law as it applies to dogs, particularly anything relating to the Dangerous Dogs Act.
They should be able to offer advice on where your grandparents stand and how they should move forward.
Sorry cant help, but commiserations, its a horrible situation. I'm sure someone helpful will soon be along soon. TBH Sounds like they are taking the mick to me. People do seem to see £££ in these sort of situations. Would definitely go down legal/insurance route if insurance allows though.
Personally I would make no further contact with either party and go through the 3rd party liability covered by insurance, assuming they had it.
Horrible situation to be in
Your grandparents have done everything they can to the extent that the poor bloody dog is now dead. How these people can feel justified in pursuing anything is beyond me. Have they no shame? It has been dealt with, the dog has been destroyed and there is nothing more to be done. Unless the woman can prove that the coat cost £500 she can jog on, and so can the previous woman.
I would suggest you tell the woman that the dog has been destroyed, the police were involved and have closed the case and that is the end.
She is just a chancer and a cheeky fucker.
Please login first.