What can be done about neighbor’s aggressive dogs?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What can be done about neighbor’s aggressive dogs?

We live out of city limits in a small town. A neighbor of ours has 15 dogs living with her and they are very aggressive. They have gotten out of her property and came onto our property numerous occasions and have chased and come at us and our children/grandchildren. No one has gotten bit thankfully but we are in fear every day to go in our front yard for fear of being attacked. The county sheriff says they cannot do anything until someone actually gets injured. We’ve also been told we cannot attempt to protect ourselves with guns because we will go to jail even if these aggressive dogs are coming at us on our own property. What are out options?

Asked on August 21, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) Check with your municipal and county animal control, department of health, and department of building/zoning/housing, etc. departments to see if keeping this number of dogs, the conditions in which they are kept, the amount of animal waste, the level of noise (and when the make it), etc. violate any ordinances. If they do, you can file complaints with the appropriate agencies over the violation(s).
2) Speak with an attorney (someone local, who handles general litigation, or all kinds of cases) about whether you may be able to sue the neighbor for--
a) Harassment: a pattern of conduct which terrifies or harasses you; 
b) Nuisance: doing something (keeping, without properly restraining, an excessive number of aggressive dogs) which is inappropriate in this kind of neighborhood.
If you can sue, the matter can be resolved by a court order or voluntary settlement which force them to restain (e.g. fence) the dogs or take other appropriate 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 AttorneyPages.com 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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