Is a dog owner financially responsible for it dog’s actions?

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2012

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Is a dog owner financially responsible for it dog’s actions?

A person was walking his pitbull and lost control. The pitbull ran up my driveway and attacked my dog that was chained up. My dog’s ear was torn off and requires surgery.

Asked on January 8, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Hawaii


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

In all states in this country, a dog owner is strictly liable for all harm that his or her dog causes when it bites someone or someone's property. In the situation that you are writing about, the owner of the pitbull would be liable for the vet bills that you had to incur with respect to the injuries that your dog suffered.

I would send a letter to the owner of the pitbull with a copy of the vet's bill for your dog requesting payment. Keep a copy of the letter sent for future need and reference. if you do not get reimbursement of the bill within the time requested, your option would be to file a small claims court action.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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