A judge ordered two weekends in jail for the owner of a pit bull that, while at large, attacked another dog. Additionally, the man was required to pay a fine, placed on one year of supervised probation (his two pit bulls have to be locked in a cage on his premises), and made to pay the veterinary bills that were incurred to treat the injured dog. The case against the pit bull owner was put together using Kenneth M. Phillips' book, When A Dog Is Injured Or Killed. After the trial, the owner of the injured dog sent the following email message to Mr. Phillips:
"Long story short – the judge literally threw the book at the owner of the dog. The owner was charged $100 per unattended dog (there was a 2nd pit bull puppy with this dog and he was loose and turned in later same day) one year of supervised probation (and the judge promised him to expect to have drop in visits from Animal Control checking to assure his dogs were locked up) given 12 months to reimburse us for our vet bill (and if he chooses not to do so he will pay $1,000 fine PLUS mandatory 1 year in jail) And ---he must spend two weekends in jail.
"We were flabbergasted and almost felt guilty for the jail time but – we believe that the owners must be held accountable for their dogs so did not question her ruling."
When a dog is injured or killed, it is simply unjust to make its owner bear not only the grief but also the costs. Most of the time, the local small claims court can issue a judgment against the owner of the attacking dog. The incident also can result in criminal charges against him, as demonstrated by the case reported in this post. The owners of both dogs need to understand their respective rights, how to put together evidence that can be used in court or at a dog court hearing, what to say during the trial, and how to argue their case most effectively. Whether or not you retain an attorney, you need to know the basics to win your case.
If you are the owner of the "victim" dog, read When A Dog Is Injured Or Killed. If you or your dog are on the "other side," charged with an offense, get Defending Your Dog. Both books are by Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips, called "the nation's best-known practitioner of terrier torts" (Los Angeles Times).