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What to Do if Your Neighbor Keeps an Unsafe Dog

Dangerous dogs can threaten more than just physical injuries. They can also be a significant source of anxiety and stress. When a neighbor’s dog is known to have vicious and aggressive tendencies it can make living nearby unpleasant and even hazardous. In some cases steps can be taken to address the presence of a dangerous animal in your neighborhood.

The goal is to prevent bites before they happen

When thinking about what to do about a threatening animal it’s important to remember that the goal is to improve the safety of people around the dog. Dogs may be extremely vocal and excitable when they are behind fences or tied up, but pose little risk to people or other animals in other contexts. But other dogs may be undisciplined or highly territorial. The legal rules around dog ownership try to strike a balance between acceptable dog behavior within the boundaries of a homeowner’s property and unacceptable risks to public health. In Las Vegas all dogs older than four months must be licensed and vaccinated against rabies. Homeowners are allowed to keep their dogs off leash provided that they are confined to the dog owner’s property by a fence or other sufficiently tall and robust barrier. Absent specific rules, like an HOA’s bylaws, a dog that occasionally barks at passers-by from behind a sturdy fence probably doesn’t present a legally actionable problem

When are legal steps against a neighbor’s dog appropriate?

When a polite conversation isn’t enough to get a neighbor to address problems with a dog, there may be cause for threatening legal action in some situations. Some of the circumstances that might justify a legal response include:
  • The dog behaves aggressively and barks constantly from your neighbor’s yard while you are in your own yard, making your property unpleasant and potentially unsafe.
  • The dog routinely makes loud noises at unreasonable times, like late at night.
  • The dog has a history of behaving menacingly or biting on at least two occasions within an 18 month period, such that it qualifies as a “vicious” animal within the meaning of Chapter 7.16 of the Las Vegas Municipal Code.
Depending on the nature of the issue a homeowner could pursue several courses of action beyond speaking with the dog’s owner about the problem. Speaking with the local animal control agency may be a good first step. If the dog owner doesn’t take steps to fix a dangerous circumstance, a formal demand from an attorney may do the trick. At worst, such a demand creates an unambiguous record that the dog’s owner is on notice about the dog’s bad behavior. The next step might be to ask a court to order the dog’s owner to make changes to improve public safety or address a problem like excessive noise.

The GGRM Law Firm understands dog bite litigation

The attorneys at Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez have extensive experience with dog bite cases. We offer free attorney consultations to anyone with questions about how to handle a dog that poses a threat or has attacked someone. To schedule an appointment call us today at 702-388-4476 or contact us through our website.

Safely Intervening in a Fight Between Dogs

Dog owners quickly learn to pay attention to their dogs’ behaviors around other animals. Running into other dogs is a common occurrence, whether on walks or at dog parks. Quite often two dogs can encounter each other in a peaceful way, perhaps with some playful roughhousing thrown in. But sometimes an encounter goes wrong. Whether a dog is reactive to other animals can be unpredictable, even for dogs with well understood personalities. This means there’s a risk in every encounter that it could turn into a real fight, with the potential for serious injuries. For owners, the question becomes how to address these circumstances in a safe way. The first reaction many people have when they are near two dogs that are fighting is an adrenaline-filled rush of fear and concern. A human’s instinct is probably to rush straight into the fray to stop the encounter. The problem is that the human who attempts to grab at the fighting animals may end up with a serious bite. Perhaps the first thing to remember about fights between dogs is that they are typically, though not always, about the animals trying to establish a dominance relationship. When two “alpha” dogs meet, they may feel a need to settle who is the more dominant one by a show of force. Most dogs have a sense of self-preservation: they don’t want to be injured and will submit if the fight isn’t going their way. Unfortunately, some dogs don’t just back down, and some have a hidden viciousness that drives them to behave especially aggressively to establish themselves as boss. When a fight has escalated, it can be necessary to intervene. Here are some good ideas for handling a dog fight:
  • Don’t reach in to grab at the animals or their collars. This can lead to serious bites to hands and wrists.
  • The dogs aren’t paying attention to anything but each other, so yelling and stomping feet isn’t likely to do anything but add further stress to the situation for yourself and others.
  • If the owner of the other dog is present, try the wheelbarrow method, which involves lifting the hind legs of both dogs off the ground and pulling them away from each other. This can also be done with a leash looped under the dog’s belly. The key is to avoid the dog’s head.
  • If your on-leash dog gets into a fight, drop the leash to avoid the leash becoming a source of injuries to the animals.
The best way to handle dog fights is to prevent them from getting started. Recognizing when a dog is reaching badly to another animal is a key skill every dog owner must develop. For some animals it’s better to simply keep them away from other dogs except perhaps in controlled situations. For over 45t years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients recover damages for dog bite injuries. If you have questions about your legal options after being bitten by a dog in the Las Vegas area, contact us today for a free attorney consultation. We can be reached at 702-388-4476 or through our contacts page.