Dog on a lead bit another dog off lead

(19 Posts)
LIFEQUESTIONS Fri 15-Feb-19 17:04:45

Hi everyone,

Our dog devastatingly had a fight with another dog recently. He is 6 years old and has never bitten before (he's even had other dogs in the house before). He was being walked by the walker and on his lead, when another dog came running up to him (who was off the lead). Both dogs started fighting - the walker is saying it was our dog who "started it". They both came out with big cuts and scratches, but sadly our dog inflicted more damage with a larger vet bill for a set of stitches.

Naturally we were so upset we offered to straight away claim on our insurance. Our insurance company are not willing to pay out on our third party as they are saying we/nor the dog walker are negligent...

We've been in contact with the owners throughout, but they are now threatening legal action against us as they want us to pay the full vet bill in cash as they do not want to claim on their insurance!! We've offered to even pay their excess and any premiums they might incur next year...they are still refusing and trying to say they will go to court to get our dog destroyed...

Does anyone have any experience in this instance? Thanks so much!

OP’s posts: |
BiggFactHunt Fri 15-Feb-19 17:09:46

Yes same thing happened to me.
I spoke to police and council dog warden and they both said that the dog off lead would be considered the one ‘not under control’ and my dog who was on the lead was and so it’s the other dog who’s at fault. Their dog shouldn’t have run up to yours.

Floralnomad Fri 15-Feb-19 17:11:42

I wouldn’t be happy to pay for this , if your dog was on lead and the other off then IMO the onus is on the owner of the off lead dog to keep it away , which is presumably what your insurance company also think . I doubt your dog would be destroyed over one biting instance of another dog and surely it’s a matter for small claims court as who would actually prosecute you . Have they actually been to the police ?

Whitney168 Fri 15-Feb-19 17:12:39

And even if it was your dog what was out of control (and clearly it wasn't), your dog would not be destroyed for biting another dog.

Tell them to go the Police and do their worst.

Hoppinggreen Fri 15-Feb-19 17:13:33

If your dog was on his lead and the other dog approached your dog is not at fault
Our dog was bitten by a friends dog when he approached it, we climbed on the Insurance and they asked us for the details of the attack. When I gave them they said that our dog was at fault, even though he was only a puppy and approached the other dog in a very submissive way.

TornTendon Fri 15-Feb-19 17:14:31

They were the ones with an out of control dog and I think if you wanted to claim off them for your vet bills the law would probably be in your favour.

Their negligence in allowing their dog to run up to an on lead dog is what caused it. Your dog would have felt threatened and reacted accordingly.

Thisisthelaststraw Fri 15-Feb-19 17:14:58

I don’t know the law so can’t speak about what’s legal or not.

In my country all dogs are required to be leashed in all public places and certain dogs are also required to be muzzled. If your dog walker was within the law and there’s wasn’t then it doesn’t matter what dog started it. Your dog doesn’t have to be attacked physically to feel intimidated and react. Sounds like the other dog came up, unwelcome and tried to assert dominance by posturing etc. Your dog behaved like a dog and put it in its place whilst being handled according to law.

Just MHO.

I wouldn’t pay thing.


NoSquirrels Fri 15-Feb-19 17:15:05

If your dog was on the lead, then the off-lead dog was the one "not under control" and therefore you shouldn't be liable for anything.

I'd be pretty cross with your dog-walker too for saying your on-lead dog "started it". Anyone with even a tiny bit of dog behaviour knowledge knows that on-lead dogs can react badly sometimes if they feel threatened, as they are unable to get away.

Your dog was not "at fault" in the eyes of the law even if your dog ended up inflicting the most damage.

Singlenotsingle Fri 15-Feb-19 17:18:31

A dog on a lead is likely to feel threatened and therefore aggressive if another dog comes too close. The owner of the other dog should keep it under control. She will be liable, not you.

missbattenburg Fri 15-Feb-19 17:20:30

I'd be pretty cross with your dog-walker too for saying your on-lead dog "started it"

Me too. The idea that one dog 'starts' something and that fights between two otherwise well socilised dogs are not the result of a long build up of communication - most of which is too subtle for the humans to see - is daft.

I'd be telling these other owners to sling one unless they wished to be on the end of a lawsuit FROM me about their dog being out of control.

AnnaFiveTowns Fri 15-Feb-19 17:21:26

They've got a cheek! You shouldn't give them a penny! Sometimes dogs have little skirmishes - it's perfectly natural. The only way to avoid this is to keep your dog on a lead, which they didn't. Your dog was under control. Your insurance company is right not to pay out and neither should you. And the police won't destroy a dog for biting another dog.

Rassy Fri 15-Feb-19 17:37:10

Not your fault OP - other dog should have been put on a lead when your on lead dog was in sight.
I always walk my dog on a lead and it really hacks me off when another dog who is off lead starts to hassle mine. Mine will inevitably bark and the other owner will look at me as if I and my dog are grumpy spoil sports and say their dog only wants to play..,Well mine doesn't and that is why she is on a lead!!!angry

Georgiemcgeorgeface Fri 15-Feb-19 17:40:49

Not your dogs fault and there's no criminal offence committed, I doubt very much they'd have a leg to stand on with a civil claim either. You've gone above and beyond offering to pay anything. Ignore their idle threats.

Elephantina Fri 15-Feb-19 17:51:34

I do hate this scenario, my small terrier is super aggressive and can never go off the lead - if an off lead dog approaches her, she will attack their face and neck regardless of size and then invariably comes off worse because she is so little (6kg).

People don't give a shit and let their dog approach even though it's glaringly obvious she is on a lead with a red "STAY AWAY" notice attached, because "theirs is friendly". I walk her at 5am and stick to pavements where dogs have to be on a lead anyway, it's the only way to avoid trouble. If something does approach her unrestrained my only option is to pick her up so she can't instigate a fight, and then people moan at ME when they can't get their dog back! Gives me the rage, I'm never having another bloody dog.

Your dog didn't start it, he defended himself because he was restrained and the other dog was not. Refuse to pay another penny and wish them luck with their claim, you've gone above and beyond already.

Good luck, you have my sincere empathy.

BiteyShark Fri 15-Feb-19 17:58:01

Hmmm so their 'out of control dog' goes up to one on a lead and happens to come out of it worst off in a fight. They have insurance but don't want to claim!

They are the type of owner that I someone see say (on here as well) that dogs will be dogs and that all dogs should be allowed to approach any other and they will sort it out themselves. They don't understand the concept of 'in control' means not allowing your dog to run up and piss of any other dog especially those that are on lead and can't escape unlike their own (out of control dog).

I would stop engaging with them. Your insurance have stated that to you that you are not liable. Walk away and pass on any 'legal challenge' to your insurer.

I would think of it like a car accident claim where someone crashed into your car that was stationary and they tried to say it was your fault. You would simply let your insurance company legal team handle that for you.

UrsulaPandress Fri 15-Feb-19 18:03:55

Please do not entertain giving these people any money. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows you do not let an off lead dog approach a leashed dog.

AlpacaLypse Fri 15-Feb-19 18:09:00

I'm a professional dog walker. I've been doing it for sixteen years now. Your dog walker doesn't sound like she knows what she's talking about with saying 'your dog started it'. He felt threatened because being on a lead meant he didn't have freedom of movement. Having said, the other dog's owners should not have allowed their dog to approach a dog on a lead. If they failed to even try then they clearly know nothing about normal dog behaviour and if they were unable to prevent then they shouldn't be exercising off lead at all. Good practice when you see an approaching dog on lead is to call yours in and put them on leash yourself, unless the other walker calls out something about 'not to worry!' or similar.

Incidentally, I have £10 million public liability insurance in case of this sort of thing (not that I've ever had to make a claim thankfully) Does your walker have it?

LIFEQUESTIONS Fri 15-Feb-19 18:13:50

Thanks so much everyone, I couldn't tell if I was just being clouded by the emotion of it all!

I've forwarded on the insurance final decision letter, so let's see what they bring down on us...

OP’s posts: |
eastwestnorth Fri 15-Feb-19 18:18:34

As everyone else says, your dog was under control and the other wasn't. I know it's upsetting, but let them threaten to sue, they are in the wrong.

I would be looking for a more knowledgeable dog walker.

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