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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Our dog was involved in a fight with the next door neigbours

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Our dog was involved in a fight with the next door neigbours dogs who were in their garden off the lead. Our dog bit one of their dogs and we have been given the bill to pay do we have to pay? They have given a time limit to pay and then will go to the county court for payment. They have sent the bill to myself although it was my husband that was taking our dog out when it happened. The police were informed by our neighbours as although our dog was on a lead he had trespassed on to their garden. But my husband insists that he had taken control of our dog and was in the road when their dogs continued the attack and this is when their dog was bit. My husband has already told the police that he would not pay the bill. As i have received the bill i am willing to pay without my husbands knowledge but would this cause any further problems for myself. I know i should tell my husband of what i intend to do but know he would not be happy i just do not want the hassel or a CCJ.

Jo C. :

Hi. Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this. What is the bill for?


The Vets bill

I have converted this to Q and A for ease of communication.

Have there been any other incidents with your dog or his?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No not before


How much is the bill?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Thanks for the information. i'm just travelling at the moment but I can pick up at about 6 pm if thats OK? No need to respond for now

Sorry for the delay.

Do you feel particularly strongly about this ?

Are you willing to fight it?

Also, how did he get into the neighbour's garden?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Our dog was on an extended lead which was locked off on the short lead. Unfortunatley my husband accidently unlocked it and the dog went on to next doors garden. We have open plan gardens. I would strongly fight if we had a strong case.


In truth, overall, I'm not sure I can give you good news.

In terms of civil law, you are liable I'm afraid. Now that you have described the facts there's no way around it. Under the Animals Act 1971 you are only liable basically if there is either negligence or a previous incident sufficient to create knowledge in your mind of your dog's disposition. There hasn't been a previous incident but they could argue there has been negligence.

I suppose you could argue that this was an accident rather than negligence but its clutching at straws really.

In terms of the criminal law, nobody is making that threat at the moment but you should be aware of it. Your problem here is that your dog did enter a private place where he wasn't permitted to be.

He did only get into a dispute with another dog and that is not in theory covered by the Dangerous Dogs Act. However, what some constabularies will do is charge people with the lesser offence on the basis that any person present witnessing a dog fight would have feared for their own personal safety.

Dangerous dogs matters go in cycles really. There have been some very unfortunate headlines recently though and the Constabularies are sensitive on the point.

In fairness, the non aggravated offence doesn't lead to destruction often but its a criminal record and thats not desirable.

Also, they could always drop down under the Dogs Act 1871 and seek a control order and you would probably end up with ridiculous conditions at the moment.

You might want to get this dog insured for the future. Its only about £40 a year if you become a member of the Dogs Trust and then your insurers would deal with situations like this.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

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