Sandy, OR asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Oregon

Q: My dog bit someone on our property who put their hand close to our fence and threatening legal action. What can I do?

May, 2020: Our neighbor had people visiting, and they were about to leave, and my dog heard them talking loudly and ran outside. We ran outside to get her and this woman told me that my dog had bitten her. She showed me her bite mark, and it was not bleeding; it looked like teeth marks in the skin, some bruising, and some surface scratching, but no blood was drawn. However, she saw that my dog was barking, angry, and willingly put her hand close to the fence to say "Hi." That's when my dog bit her. I apologized and asked her why she would get near a clearly angry dog that is separated by a fence and she argued that if a child got close to our dog, they wouldn't know that it was dangerous because it was barking. There was no young child present. This person just said that they would take legal action. What can I do?

2 Lawyer Answers
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Answered
  • Hillsboro, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Turn it over to your homeowner's insurance carrier and let them deal with it. That's why you have insurance.

Jennie Lynn Clark
Jennie Lynn Clark
Answered
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: She is partially right because the dog could be considered an attractive nuisance for a child who may not appreciate the danger. She, on the other hand, is an adult. Arguably, she trespassed on your property when she should have been aware of the danger and was bitten. If she is requesting money, then she should have a formal demand for settlement outlining her legal theories with supporting documentation of her injuries. If you have homeowner's insurance, they will handle any defense to a formal demand for payment or if a lawsuit is filed, so you shouldn't have to pay for an attorney if you have homeowner's insurance.

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