What are the next steps after my dog has been attacked?
My dog and father were attacked by two Pit Bulls while out on their daily evening walk. Schatzi needed emergency surgery to have a drain place (because of a deep puncture wound) and about nine stitches. Between hospital visits, meds etc., her bill is up to $1,200 and will continue to increase. We have filed a police report and my father went to the hospital as well, as he was bitten too. The question is, what type of action should be considered next? My father was trying to collect all the data possible to make a case before speaking to the homeowners.
However, when he and my brother knocked on the door, the homeowners refused to speak. Please let me know what can be done in order to ensure that the dog owners remain responsible for their pets' actions.
If you cannot work out a satisfactory financial arrangement with your neighbor, you can sue. Consult with a personal injury attorney. If the amount of your claim is $5,000 or less, consider small-claims court. However, New York’s highest court has continuously held that a dog owner will not be held liable for injuries caused by his/her dog unless the owner had knowledge of his/her dog’s vicious propensities (such as if the dog previously bit or attacked someone). However, there is a law (section 123 (10) of the Agriculture and Markets Law) which provides that an owner of a dangerous dog shall be strictly liable for medical costs resulting from injury caused by such dog to a person, companion animal, farm animal or domestic animal. Some lower courts have relied on this section of law to hold dog owners liable if their dogs attacked without justification.
You can also make a complaint with your local animal-control officer, who can advise you further on how to commence a dangerous-dog proceeding. In such proceedings, the court will review the facts and determine if the dogs should be declared dangerous. If the dogs are declared dangerous, the court will order that the dogs be spayed or neutered and microchipped. The court can also order the dogs’ guardian to take other actions including, for example, procuring liability insurance, muzzling the dogs when in public, having the dogs trained and confining the dogs. There are also other provisions in section 123 of New York State’s Agriculture and Markets Law which allow for the imposition of penalties in certain dog-bite situations. Some municipalities have dangerous-dog laws as well, but none of these laws may ban any specific breed.
Can I get my cat back?
I was wondering if I could get my cat back after giving him away under pressure. I have his veterinary and adoption papers to show that he was ours and that we did care for him. I spoke with a woman and asked if she was still interested and she said yes. She was going to come pick him up the same day. I told her it wasn't a good day for me, but she pressured me by saying that today was the only day she could do it. I told her we could try it out and see how it went. I never agreed to give her the cat. I realized when she came to my home to pick the cat up that I didn't want to go through with it and that I wanted him, but because she had driven from Studio City, I felt pressured to do it. She took the cat to her car and I quickly took him back and told her that I couldn't go through with it and that I didn't want to give him up. Once again she tried to pressure me and talk me out of it.
I am pregnant and emotional and was not in my right mind so I gave the cat to her. I never said she could have the cat permanently. I called her four days later and said I wanted to have him back, and she at first agreed to give him back. 30 minutes later, she refused to give him back to me. There was struggle for me not only on the phone, but she persisted. Do I have a chance to get him back?
Based on the information contained in your question, it seems to me that you willingly gave the cat away and no one forced you to do so. Please consider that you gave the cat to the person after having made arrangements for the person to come and get the cat. That you are “pregnant and emotional” or felt pressured (you do not allege the person threatened you) would not, in my opinion, be a basis to negate an adoption agreement.
Also consider that whatever reason you had to give your cat away may still exist. All that said, if after careful thought you still want the cat and believe you can provide the cat with a humane forever home, try speaking again with the person who now has the cat. Perhaps if she truly believes you will care for the cat, she will return him. If not, your option would be to commence a lawsuit. Consult with an attorney in your state. Again, it is unclear why you chose to give the cat away in the first place. He deserves a home where he is loved and is part of the family.
Can we keep the dog we believe is abandoned by its owner?
We have just taken in a dog that we believe was abandoned. The dog was left with a friend while the owner moved. That was 30 days ago. Since then, the owner hasn't come back to check on the dog or call. Several attempts have been made to contact her. We have taken the dog in and wish to keep her. Can we just keep the dog or do we have to try and find this person to buy it from her?
In trying to determine if a dog has been abandoned, one needs to consider the terms of the agreement (whether verbal or written) for the care of the animal. It is unclear from your email if the “owner” and her friend agreed to a specific amount of time that the dog would be kept by the friend, or if they agreed that the friend would care for the dog until the “owner” got settled in her new home (a more indefinite period of time).
Unless the agreement specifically states that that the “owner” relinquishes all rights to the animal, it remains unclear if the animal was really abandoned. In order to have closure on the dog’s “ownership,” it would be preferable to have a signed agreement with the original “owner” in which she agrees to give away or sell the dog. Otherwise, one can take a "wait and see" approach. If the original “owner” reappears and the parties cannot agree to an animal custody/ownership arrangement, then the matter may have to be resolved in court.
Neighbors trapping and harming cats
A couple of elderly and disabled ladies in the neighborhood have cats as pets. These cats are well taken care of. Some new neighborhood residents are now trapping them outside and disposing of them. We feel that they may have killed at least three cats. Please help.
Cruelty to animals is a crime, as is abandonment. You should contact your local humane society to seek assistance. It is possible they will investigate or refer you to the organization in your area that enforces the animal-cruelty laws. Some proof that the animals are being abandoned or killed should be gathered. Cameras outdoors could provide the necessary evidence, but you do not need that to make the initial complaint. If the cats are socialized, they should be taken indoors and out of harm's way. If they are feral and no one is willing to take them indoors, they should be spayed/neutered. (Either way, they should be spayed/neutered!)
Your local humane society should know of feral-cat groups in your area that can help with trapping and spaying/neutering. Sometimes, to defuse a difficult situation (but not always), it can be helpful to have discussions with the neighbors to let them know about the spaying/neutering and other efforts underway to reduce the population and to keep the cats off of their property. Easier said than done.
Does my sister have any rights to puppies from her dog she left with me?
My sister dumped her dog at my house in May, until she could find a pet-friendly place. She did in June, yet never came and got her dog. My dog just happened to get hers pregnant. She has three kids all under the age of 3, and she has no control of them. I told her she could not have a puppy because her kids would kill it. They are Yorkie puppies. Does she have any legal rights? Mind you, she has never paid a dime in the care of her dog or any of the puppies, nor has she ever offered to help at all with any of it.
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Unless there is an agreement to the contrary, typically the owner of the female dog would have rights to at least some of the puppies. A judge might consider whether the female dog had been abandoned prior to the pregnancy and could determine that the person who abandoned the dog does not have rights to the dog or the puppies. It is not surprising that the dog got pregnant since you apparently had two unaltered dogs in the same household. Please consider that there is a serious overpopulation of dogs and cats. Spaying and neutering not only helps to control the pet overpopulation problem, but also provides health benefits to animals.
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