If a Neighbors Unleashed Dog Confronts You, What Should You Do?
Ben: Joey Vega, what’s up, man?
Joe: So, it’s a couple of days ago, I’m walking home, and I’ve got this, just to explain it, I’ve got this walkway. I live in a condo, right, a condo association. I’ve got this walkway that leads to my front door, and as I’m about to enter the walkway, there in the middle, like the troll guarding the frickin’ bridge, is a pit bull, a full-sized pit bull, unattended, not on a leash, and it not only growls and snarls at me, but actually, it bares its teeth, right? So I’m, you know, I’m like, “Okay,” going slowly backwards, and then I went around. Luckily, I’ve got a back door that I can enter, so that I just went that way. It turns out, the pit bull is owned by a new neighbor of mine. So I guess my question is, how do I handle this situation?
Ben: It’s a good question. First, I would probably approach your new neighbor and just indicate to him your interaction with that particular dog and get a better understanding of the temperament of that particular animal. But I would also, absolutely, notify your condo association of that animal and the animal’s temperament towards you. Certainly, you want to try to avoid being bitten yourself. You also want to avoid other people being bitten because that particular neighbor may have some liability if that dog does attack somebody or causes property damage.
In Vermont and in New York, there is something that is somewhat misclassified as the one-bite rule, but usually, if you were bitten by that particular dog, the dog owner is not responsible for the personal injury that it causes unless that owner knows the animal is dangerous. And usually, you can demonstrate dangerousness by showing that that dog has bitten another person before or has some other tendency to bite or to do something else that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the dog is dangerous.
Joe: Wow. Okay, well, that’s actually really interesting. So it depends on whether or not the owner knew that the dog was dangerous or not.
Ben: That’s correct.
Joey: Okay. Anything else?
Ben: I guess I would say that Martin, Harding & Mazzotti represents people who have been bitten by dogs, so if it happens, give us a call.
Joe: Okay. Thanks, Ben.
Ben: Joe, talk to you later. Thanks for calling. I appreciate being on the show.
Joe: Tell your brother I said happy birthday.
Ben: Yeah, I will. I’m gonna give that old bastard a call. Later, man.
Joe: Ben Barry at Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. It’s 1-800-LAW-1010 or 1800law1010.com. By the way, his brother that I just referenced, one of my best friends growing up, we actually graduated from high school together, one of the elite troops in the United States military. He’s been in the Air Force. He’s a pararescue trooper in the Air Force. He’s been in there for 26 years now, and he’s an amazing guy.
Anyways, Mel Allen taking over. He’s got music from Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and the Rolling Stones coming up.