Who Is Liable When a Dog Bites Another Dog?

Often, we hear of animal attack claims in relation to a person as the victim, but a human isn’t always the one who becomes injured. Sometimes, dogs can attack each other, causing unfortunate injuries to beloved pets. While most dog owners find the veterinary expenses of caring for their furry friends more than worth the cost, the fact remains that injured animal bills can quickly start to add up.

Thankfully, like other types of injuries from dog bites, dog owners can seek compensation when their pets become injured in an attack or fight. But then how does liability work in these cases?

Determining Liability When a Dog Bites Another Dog

Liability refers to the party that’s legally responsible for damages and injuries. To prove that someone else is liable, you often need to establish a duty of care and that there was a breach of that duty, which lead to accident and/or injury. All dog owners automatically have a duty of care to prevent their dogs from damaging someone else or their property. And while most pet owners may word it otherwise, as far as the law is concerned, cats, dogs, and other domesticated animals are personal property.

This means that all dog owners automatically have a duty of care to prevent their dogs from harming other dogs. If an owner does something to violate that duty of care, such as not keeping their dog on a leash while in public, then the owner becomes financially responsible for any harm caused by their dog.

Unlike most other states, Nevada does not have any set dog bite law statutes. However, the state operates closely to others that have strict liability rules for dog owners. No “one-bite law” exists – a dog owner can still be liable for damage caused by his or her pet, even if the dog has shown no previous signs of violent or aggressive behavior.

However, it’s possible for both dog owners to be liable for a fight between dogs. For example, if both dog owners were out in public without their pets on leashes and one dog bit another, the owner of the bitten dog may still be partially responsible for the accident in court.

In situations where parties both share responsibility for damages, Nevada follows comparative negligence rules, which reduce the final awarded compensation amount by the percentage of fault. In the above example, if the court determined both parties were 50 percent responsible, then the final reward would be half of the requested amount.

How to Support Your Claim of Liability

To hold the other dog owner responsible for damages, you will need evidence to support your claim. The more evidence you have, the better position you’ll be in to successfully recover compensation. Some essential pieces of evidence you can obtain are:

  • Photos and videos. If you happen to have visual evidence of the moment of the attack, it can serve as critical evidence in proving liability. Additionally, you should take photos or video of the aftermath of the attack, including your dog’s injuries and the other dog if you can do so safely.
  • Witness statements. Two types of witnesses can help with dog bite claims: First, anyone who saw the attack, and second, anyone who’s witnessed the aggressive dog’s previous dangerous behavior. At minimum, you’ll want to collect witness contact information at the scene. If you can, see if they’re willing to give a written statement at the scene, while memories of the attack are still fresh.

Along with these pieces of evidence, you’ll want to submit copies of your vet’s bills and other expenses on medical supplies to care for your dog. While it’s unfortunate when your dog suffers injury from another animal, but with help from a dog bite attorney, there is a legal path to compensation available.