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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26070
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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Hi, My neighbours 2 dogs came into my back garden and attacked

Customer Question

Hi, My neighbours 2 dogs came into my back garden and attacked my cat. The vets bill is up to £800 so far but thankfully our family pet is on the mend. The neighbour said he would pay the bill but hasn't been round to see how the cat is or offer any payment. Please can you advise what the next step should be to start to recover the £800 costs so far.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

May I ask if there is any correspondence between you and your neighbour to date please?

Customer:

no corresponsdence to date. I was hoping to do that today based on your advice. I suspect he isnt going to pay.

Joshua :

How did the dogs get into your garden?

Customer:

The dogs got in a few days after the bad winds which blew the fencing down. This has now all been replaced however the dogs were on a green behind our garden. It isnt clear if they were with the owner at the time. We believe it was the owners sister that was looking after the dogs who originally was trying to help get the dogs off but didnt own up to them being hers/her brothers until after we got the dogs off but the owner did say he would pay the vets bill.

Joshua :

Thanks. From what you say the dogs were allowed in the garden unrestrained during the period the fencing was blown down?

Customer:

Not sure what you mean by allowed - do you mean the "owners" allowed them because they wernt on a lead or in control ?

Joshua :

Quite - were the dogs let in the garden without a lead whilst the fence was down between your and their garden?

Customer:

Not exactly , the dogs live two houses down but got in at the back not the side. In effect it was a wooden fence along the back until it was blown down if that makes sense :-)

Joshua :

Thank you - do you know how the dogs got out of the owners garden?

Customer:

No, cant be sure exactly, The sister appeared when she heard all the screams but I cant be sure if she was walking them on this small patch of green or had opebed her back gate and let them out. Either way, they wernt on a lead so hoping this is in our favour.

Joshua :

Thanks. Finally do you know if these dogs have shown aggression to cats before and/or whether they are an aggressive species?

Customer:

They aren't an aggressive species, not sure what they are, some kine of medium sized terrier. I think the problem is that there were two them. With regards XXXXX XXXXX they have shown aggression to cats before, a couple of neighbours are convinced their cats disappeared and that these dogs were behind it but so far no one has said or done anything that could be concrete evidence. I didn't report it to the police or dog warden at the time for fear of how he would respond and also the shock we were all in and worried whether the cat would make it ( hospitalised for 4 days) but was planning on contacting the dog warden after trying to recover the costs

Joshua :

Thank you. On the basis the dog is not a dangerous species the owner of the dog does not have strict liability for the damage. Instead you would need to show reasonable foreseeability on his part in respect of the incident and that he failed (via his sister) to exercise adequate measures in terms of restraint.

Joshua :

In particular if you can show that the owner knew of the dogs aggressive tendencies towards cats this can significantly improve your position potentially if you could for example obtain evidence from neighbours as you refer to in the form of formal statements.

Customer:

would them coming into our garden and ripping the cat apart not be that they failed to exercise adequate measures. I though dogs needed to be on a lead in public places or under control.

Customer:

initially I should ask him for payment ? if so what format does this take ?

Joshua :

If the owner can show on the balance of probability that his dogs behaviour was unexpected and entirely out of character this can amount to a defence or partial defence to any claim you bring and therefor if you can prepare yourself for such a defence by seeking and presenting evidence that the dogs have a history of aggresion towards cats this can be helpful potentially. Notwithstanding this your principle argument in terms of a claim would be that the dogs have shown aggressive tendencies towards cats in the past and accordingly should have been under control - either by way of a lead if being walked or if in the garden by suitable boundary structures preventing them from escaping.

Joshua :

If you can demonstrate this you have the basis of a claim against the neighbour.

Joshua :

Initially if the neighbour has offered to pay your intiial step would presumably be to write to the neighbour referring to the incident where his dogs which were not under control attacked your cat and his offer to settle the vets bill and enclose a copy of the invoice and request he settles the same in the next 10 days.

Joshua :

If he refuses or does not reply then you can consider threatening a claim in the county court on the above basis, namely that the dogs have a history of aggression towards cats and were not under control at the time of the incident.

Joshua :

If you are forced to proceed on this basis the simplest way to issue proceedings is by using www.moneyclaim.gov.uk

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer:

no thats great many thanks

Customer:

one thing, does the fact they were on my property have any relevance good or bad ?

Customer:

oh and one more thing, the woman / sister said " oh no not again " but I dont suppose she will elaborate now and go against her brother

Joshua :

It is of relevance in that your cat was not on public land but rather the owner (via his sister) has allowed the dogs to be sufficiently unrestrained (not on a lead) so as to enter your property. However given they did so via a blown down fence reduces its impact. The main issues of the claim will be as above - whether the owner had reasonable knowledge of the dogs tendencies and whether they were appropriately restrained in light of that knowledge.

Joshua :

Is there anything else I can help you with?

Customer:

no, many thanks

Joshua :

A pleasure. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know in particular once you have a reply from your neighbour.

Customer:

Much appreciated

Joshua :

Best wishes

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.

Joshua and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello again Joshua


 


I sent the letter as suggested and havent heard anything back. Looks like he's changed his mind and doesnt intend to cover the vets bill after all !


 


Also,sadly I think he's now got rid of the dogs.


 


Is small claims a possibility against him or the "keeper" at the time which was his sister ?


 


Kind regards, Adele