Liability for Loose Neighbor Animals

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Terre d'Esprit, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. Terre d'Esprit

    Terre d'Esprit Boer-ing Mom

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    We have a new neighbor, renting. He has two Great Pyrenees puppies. They are constantly getting loose. I think there have been days that they have been running through my property 5 times. I bet they are loose at least once every day.

    I care for a friend's horses. She does not pay me board, so it's is not a business for me. I do carry Care Custody and Control Insurance in case they should get out and do damage because of my neglect of a fence or leaving a gate open, etc.

    The horses do not like dogs. I have 2 labs, and we have trained them not to go near the horses. If they are loose, they stick very closely with us. The horses will attack dogs. They rear up and/or charge at the dogs.

    I have explained to the neighbors the risk that the horses pose to the dogs. At the same time, I cannot be responsible for monitoring the horses in their pasture (beyond my normal care for them), and ensuring that the dogs do not "visit" and get hurt.

    Do I have some sort of legal liability? What happens of the dogs get loose, and in my pasture, and one of the horses hurts or kills the dog(s)? Does my friend have any liability also, as they are her horses?

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

    T
     
  2. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

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    You have all the liablility and more.

    You own the property (deep pockets). The tenant should have the liability you would think, but by allowing the situation you have in essence agreed to it. This makes you responsible. You are prudent in having insurance concerning the boarded horses, perhaps you do already have liavility insurance for the rental property. Really the tenant should purchase a tenant's liability insurance policy for themselves naming you as additional insured. Do you think they will purchase such a thing?

    Consider what happens when their dogs, and your dogs get into it, causing one or more horses to escape into traffic causing a fatal automobile accident. Got any school buses in your area? Jist think it over, it's a time bomb.

    Remembet that just about all lawsuits start with seven figuers, or more.

    All landlords are rich, just ask any jury.

    My suggestion is get them insured at their expense, or get them out. Do it now.
     

  3. edcopp

    edcopp Well-Known Member

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    I might have misunderstood thinking that you own the rental property that the new neighbor is living in. If you do not own it, whoever does own it should hear complaints from you long and loud. Any authorities that might have juristiction should also be notified as well. Either way this situation could cause you lots of trouble.
     
  4. Terre d'Esprit

    Terre d'Esprit Boer-ing Mom

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    Thanks Ed, For your reply.

    No, I don't own the property where the renters live. But you are right, I had never considered that the dogs might cause the horses to get out.

    We live on a very remote, not-often-travelled road, but we do have school buses, and there is property nearby that potentially could be damaged. Not only that, but I would feel terrible if one of the horses that I care for (and love as my own) were to get out and get hurt/killed because of the dogs.

    Thanks for calling my attention to that. I will definitely speak to the dog owners again, and also to the landlord.

    T
     
  5. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Fences are used to keep things in, and to keep things out. Post on your fence, nearest you can to the neighbor, "Danger - Horses" or something to that effect.

    It shouldn't be your responsibility to mind your neighbor's dogs, but apparently that is the situation you are faced with. Assuming you have a board fence, could you run an electric line under the lowest board so the dogs get zapped? Or in between the boards they usually sneak in through? I believe this is called negative reinforcement.
     
  6. Terre d'Esprit

    Terre d'Esprit Boer-ing Mom

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    Well, see now, that's how I feel. My dogs behave better than my kids, most days! If they're outside, I'm out with them. If one were to have a propensity toward running, then I would leash him. I don't care if we live in the country or not, the dog is not in charge, the owner is. It frustrates me that others don't share that viewpoint.

    He did say something to me the other day, like, "I'm getting so sick of them running away, I'm about ready to just let them go if they want to go." Ugh, just what we need.

    Thanks for your responses!!

    T
     
  7. apirlawz

    apirlawz playing in the dirt

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    :haha: :haha: Well, if your neighbor doesn't want them/care for them, there are a ton of us who would love to own, and be happy to properly care for a good LGD!!! Grab them the next time you see them on your land, and post them on the the Barter Board!! I'm in SD, I'd be your first customer!! :D

    April

    (I suppose I should state right here that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Homesteading Today, or any other law abiding citizen, for that matter... :p )
     
  8. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

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    I have two of the same breed. the ywere born in the gost barn in a stall where the goats were kidding at the same time. I got these from my farm extemsion agent. they are good with the goats, and love them, but the smaller of the two will get out at the drop of the hat. he runs around the neighbor hood, then comes back and wants back in his home.
    my husband added lots more wire, and then 2x4's to the top of the fence so he can't get out. we don't want him getting out ever. this has kept him in so far. IT has been a challenge to keep him in, but we are winning, and have had to stay on top of it .every day, we check the fence and the other stuff we have had to do. cmenting down around the fence, so he can't dig his way out. we have done and will continue to do this until he gives up, and stays home. HE is in a large area. Not a small pen. I think it was the challange to get out, that he wanted to try to win. but not here. we are always on gaurd. and when he did get put, we went looking, and brought him home. we never just let him run.
    WE think we have it now, so he will stay in. we are hoping. he hasn't got out in a while, now. But if you have a pup, that gets out, you must be responsible, and go get the dog, and fix it so he can't get out, this dog, was climing the fence ,.So now the fenc is boards. he can't climb it the way, hubby has it. so far it is working. IF these people want these dogs, then it is up to them to be responsible for them .yes, it take a great deal of effort on the owners part, ..but that is life.
     
  9. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

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    First let me say, IANAL.....but I do deal with them quite a bit.

    You would almost certainly have liability to the owner of the horses unless you notify them of the situation. They then have the option of removing the horses if they feel at risk. You would also have liability if the horses got out and caused damage or injury to someone else. You might be able to recover damages from the owner of the dogs but they probably don't have insurance, etc (just a guess).

    I would speak with the owner and explain that you are not in a position to deal with the risks they are creating for you. If they can't/won't control their dogs then you will have to take further action. Indicate to them that even though you aren't happy about going to the authorities you will if it continues to happen. Keep notes of every discussion (location, time, date and topics covered). I would alo speak with the landlord (of the dog owner) and indicate that they might also be held liable (now that they have been informed of the problem).

    As far as shooting the dogs, check into your local/state laws. They do vary and in some states/localities you have no issues and in other states/localities you might be criminally charged in addition to having civil liability.

    As usual, just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     
  10. kate

    kate Well-Known Member

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    bite the bullet and start putting in a perimeter fence that will hold out anything. if it isn't this neighbor, it will be another down the line. contact the land owner and offer to have him and you share in a fence between properties, to eliminate liability problems in the future . it is cheaper than a lawsuit or medical or vet bills..........
     
  11. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    A registered letter is better, as it must be signed for and there's no denying that you made the effort to resolve the issue. Notes are just your word against their's.

    Does anyone else remember the case where a guy was sued because his beagle bit someone? Didn't matter that the someone was in his yard and shooting at the beagle... There are far too many lawsuits like that out there, and if the owner of the horses knows her horses are in harms way, she could just as easily sue you, no matter if she pays or not to keep them there, as you know there's an issue with the dogs and haven't done anything.

    The whole legal system is designed to protect the idiots, while good folks who have common sense get knocked about. Write the letters, call the shelter, get a paintball gun...
     
  12. MullersLaneFarm

    MullersLaneFarm Well-Known Member

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    Putting up a sign like this it a self admittance that you have dangerous horses (i.e. Danger: Guard Dog). I wouldn't recommend it.

    I like kesoaps idea.

    We have had problems with the neighbor's dogs and most recently with their cat killing our birds (chickens, ducklings, quail, bobwhite & fan tail pigeons). After talking with them more than countless times about keeping their animals on their own property, they know that the day may come that their animals may not come home.

    I think we might utilize the paint ball gun first ....
     
  13. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    I have Great Pyrenees of my own and I know how HARD they are to keep fenced in. One actually climbs fences, and one digs under. Their coats are so thick that electric wire doesn't faze them. They are also very prone to roaming. These dogs may have adopted your property as their territory and are patrolling it. The upside is that it will discourage predators from your place.
    All of this is no excuse for errant owners. Around here, if a rancher catches dogs chasing livestock or deer, they generally shoot it. Shoot, shovel, and shut up. It might help if you do something that scares them when you see them.. My Pyrs are deathly afraid of firecrackers...
     
  14. Ozarkquilter46

    Ozarkquilter46 Well-Known Member

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    File a restraining order against the renter and his dogs. And send a registered letter to the renter and owner of the place, Stating that you have filed a restraining order and that is anytime the dogs come on your place they will be held responsible for anything they do. If they chase the horses and cause them to go through the fence and into the road causeing a car wreck then they will be responsible for the fence and the price of the horse car or price of the horse if it is killed and that if they kill a chicken or goat or what ever they will be held responsible for all cost including court cost! I am not a sueing person but maybe the thought of all the trouble that can cause them will make him restrain the dogs or the owner tell the renter he can't have dogs he can't keep restrained.
     
  15. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

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    In AZ, any dog that injures (not necessarily kills) livestock is responsible for 3 times the value of the livestock. I've had good luck sending a photo of the offending dogs to the owner (showing them on my property) with a copy of the specific statutes concerning loose dogs and a note that if I see them on my property again, I will contact animal control and send a photo of said dogs to animal control, and if my animals are injured, they will pay up or see me in court.

    As far as them suing you for injured or killed dogs -- well, they can try. They probably can't win, but they can try. Lawsuits are a pain and expensive to defend against.

    Leva
     
  16. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    Theoretically, yes you can be held liable. So can your friend. But in practice what you are liable for with regard to the dogs is only their cash value, which is probably a few hundred dollars each. This is not a great deal of money. It's not like if a human was killed.

    Either you or your friend could be named in a lawsuit if the horses caused some kind of injury or loss. Certainly they would name you because you are the property owner and then maybe they find out that someone else actually owned the horse or maybe they don't. Most lawsuits just name everyone in sight and figure that the judge will sort it all out later. If they pay the claim, your insurance company has the right to subrogate against your friend who owns the hoses (this means to sue her to recollect what they paid out to the neighbor).

    Again, in practice we are talking about so small a sum of money that it's probably a moot point. Certainly no more than a few thousand dollars. Few lawyers would advise pursuing such a lawsuit to begin with. If the suit went forward, the company would pay the money immediately and it would never even make it to court. Probably it wouldn't really be worth the effort of subrogation.

    At the same time, your neighbor is liable for the actions of his dogs. So if any of the horses or any of your property is damaged in the course of the horses trampling them in your pasture, you can counter-sue or just threaten to do so and the suit would be dropped.

    In my shop (MGA & insurance wholesaler), I see very few liability claims for less than $5,000. People just don't usually bother pursuing less money than that, regardless of how incensed they are about something. On the rare occasions that we do see a suit that small, the claim is paid quickly and never comes near an actual court room.

    -Jack
     
  17. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

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    There are plenty of stupid lawsuits like that filed every year, but the vast majority of them get nowhere. They make the news when they are filed but are not considered news when they are dismissed.

    -Jack
     
  18. debitaber

    debitaber Well-Known Member

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    I would hate to see these dogs killes, as isaid befor , great pyreenese do get out, and I have two. one prone to roaming. but we try are best to keep on top of it. he has got ot, but i think we have the problem under control now.
    we had to pour cement under the fence, [the ydig], and had to use 2x4's on top of it, and put a solod board in the fence. the ydo climb the fences. just like a cat. so it is hard work when the yare pups, until the ygrow out of it. But most are very friendly, and mine are wonderful with my goats. but you must be resposible , if you are going to have this type of dog. the y are great and loyal as the day is long. it would be a shame to put one down. but the owner must realize this, and become responsible for these dogs. other wise, you could catch them , and the ywould meake great pets.
     
  19. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    Here if you put up a warning sign such as "Danger - Guard Dog" or "Beware of Dog" or anything like that, you are liable if ANYONE comes and gets bit, because by posting the signs you are showing that you know your animal is dangerous.

    I would not post any signs.
     
  20. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    Does your area have a leash law? Pack up the pooches and haul them to the pound if that is the case. Another option would be to have your horsey friend put up new fencing or remove the horses. It is such a shame that folks are so sue-happy but even a small claim can be a real pain in the butt. I'd highly recommend cattle panels for fencing. We have a Pyr and have had excellent luck with the cattle panels keeping him in. It isn't cheap but it is solid - keeps other dogs out as well. I'm not interested in paying vet bills if someone's dog gets in there. It shouldn't be that way but you have to expect that it could happen.

    I thought I might recommend spraying the Pyrs with pepper spray to keep them out of your yard but after further considering, that probably isn't a good idea. Better to make friends with the Pyrs. You DON'T want a Pyr to take a dislike to you. Ours has a rather strong dislike for people in camoflage (probable previous abuse - he was a stray and has a lot of scars) and even my husband can't go near his enclosure in camo. He has a similar hatred for cows after one of ours stomped him. Not sure why he hates motorcycles. :no: Anyway, slip them an occasional treat so they at least like you, even if it encourages them to come over. I'd rather stay on the good side of a neighbor's Pyrs ;) They really can be incredibly sweet dogs but they can also be a handful if they don't like someone or something.