Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Indiana

Q: Neighbors aggressive unrestrained dogs attacked my cat, what can I do?

I have spoken to these neighbors twice before about these dogs and their aggressive behavior and have asked them to keep them restrained, they still keep letting them roam free. On 8/06/2018 these dogs came into my yard and attacked and injured one of my cats. I want to know what legal action I can take.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Alexander Florian Steciuch
Alexander Florian Steciuch
  • Valparaiso, IN
  • Licensed in Indiana

A: First step would be reporting the aggressive dogs to whatever your local version of animal control is, whether that is at a local or county level. Some counties require animal attacks to be reported.

Second you may be looking at a small claims case assuming that the damages are under $6,000.00 ($8,000.00 in Marion County). Small Claims cases are a relatively informal legal procedure that is set up for litigants unrepresented by an attorney (although you may retain one for Small Claims cases) can bring claims under the specified amount without requiring a full blown civil trial. The rules of evidence and procedure are relaxed and you argue your case in front of a judge, presenting whatever evidence you may have.

If you do bring a Small Claims case you will want to have evidence that it was the neighbor dogs who attacked your cat, that your cat suffered injuries (pictures of the injuries), proof of the severity of the injuries and cost (a vet bill or invoice, receipts for payment for treatment) and anything else that could bolster your case. Even if you do not ultimately retain an attorney you may want to consult with one in your area to help you prepare for the Small Claims case. Only an attorney who has reviewed all of the relevant facts can give you legal advice and possibly represent you.

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