What happens if your dog kills a cat on your property

What happens if your dog kills a cat on your property

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Earlier this year, I received a phone call from a cousin informing me that a friend of hers had recently relocated and that her dog had attacked the neighbour’s cat. 

The cat of the next-door neighbour must become accustomed to the yard. It’s possible that the cat will not survive.

In any case, the dog owner is footing the tab for the vet bills, and she has contacted the local council, which has informed her that her dog may be judged unsafe owing to ‘unreasonable hostility.’

In fact, the dog owner wishes to pay for the cat’s vet fees because she is in such bad shape, but she is concerned about the council’s handling of the situation.

Because she usually maintains her dogs in a securely gated yard, I don’t think this is fair. I believe I read somewhere that a dog owner is not accountable if a cat is found on their property. Is this correct? It turns out that this is not the case.

In The USA

It is possible that you will be eligible to get compensation if your cat has been wounded or killed by a dog. 

When a dog attacks a cat, it is common for substantial veterinary expenditures to be incurred as a result of the attack. 

Depending on the intensity of the attack, these costs might add up very quickly. If the cat passes away, the emotional toll it takes on the cat’s owner may be significant. 

Cats, like other animals, are considered property under Texas state law, therefore the damages you may be able to recover are different from those you would be able to recover if the dog had harmed you personally. 

This is why, if your cat is killed by a dog, you should consult with an attorney immediately. On the other hand,  if your dog killed a wandering/ neighbouring cat, you must consult a lawyer.

Dog owners are responsible for the well-being of their pets. 

When a dog is not a stray but belongs to a person, you may be entitled to initiate a lawsuit or make a civil claim against that person on behalf of the dog’s behaviour. 

It is possible for the cat owner to recover compensation for vet fees as well as the replacement value of your cat through a legal lawsuit. 

As an added bonus, an attorney may be able to assist you in holding the dog’s owner responsible for the dog’s behaviour. 

If your pet has been harmed or killed, you should contact a Lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can advise you on all of the required damages for your specific case.

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When Is It Illegal to Injure a Pet?

A person who injures or kills a pet in an unnecessary, purposeful, or malicious manner may be subject to criminal prosecution under state animal cruelty legislation.

 In several states in America, the court may require the convicted offender to compensate the animal’s owner for economic losses incurred as a result of the crime (either under the animal cruelty statutes or under laws that call for restitution to victims in all criminal cases).

In the UK

Criminal Liability

The legislation here is the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, particularly Sections 3 and 10.

If a dog is dangerously out of control in any place in England or Wales (whether or not a public place)—

(a)the owner; and

(b)if different, the person for the time being in charge of the dog,

is guilty of an offence

Defined as:

For the purposes of this Act a dog shall be regarded as dangerously out of control on any occasion on which there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure any person or assistance dog, whether or not it actually does so…

Notably, this act only covers your dog being a danger to humans and service dogs. 

For it to be deemed dangerously out of control and you to receive criminal charges, there would have to be a reasonable concern that it could potentially attack, for example, someone’s child.

I can’t find any precedent where an owner being unable to prevent a dog attacking a smaller animal was used as evidence of it being a danger to humans. You’d probably avoid criminal charges.

Civil Liability

This one’s much more straightforward. 

Allowing, through negligence, your neighbour’s cat to be attacked and injured by your dog could leave you liable for damages. The most likely damages would be the related vet bills.

In Australia

In NSW, they shouldn’t be designating the dog as hazardous and they have no basis to do so anyhow.

The following is a link to the legislation:

Scroll down to section 16 and read paragraph 2b.

(2) It is not an offence under this section if the incident occurred under the following circumstances:

The dog has been teased, mistreated, assaulted, or otherwise provoked as a result of the taunt, mistreatment, attack, or other provocation.

(b) as a consequence of the person or animal trespassing on the land where the dog was being kept, or as a result of the person or animal trespassing on the property where the dog was being kept

Because the dog was acting in justifiable defence of a person or property, the dog was killed.

(d) when engaging in authorised hunting activities, or

(e) during the course of the dog’s working with livestock or during the course of the dog’s training in livestock working.

One of two things may be happening: either the Council does not comprehend the law they are implementing, or they are bluffing her, which they frequently do.

ETA:

The section to which they are referring is Section 33 of the Dangerous Dogs Act, which reads as follows:

33 Define “dangerous” in your own words.

(1) A dog is considered dangerous for the purposes of this Division if it does any of the following:

has attacked or killed a person or an animal (other than vermin) without provocation, or (b) has attacked or killed a person without provocation.

b) has regularly threatened to attack or chased a person or animal (other than vermin) without provocation, or

or(d) is kept or utilised for the purpose of hunting, and has demonstrated unjustified aggressiveness towards a person or animal (other than vermin).

According to Section 16 and the definition of what constitutes an attack, however, the attack would not be considered unjustified ( Source)

In the ACT, there is a defence for a dog attacking a person or animal – however, it appears that it is only if it attacks a person on their own property

50 Offences of attacking or harassing

(1) A carer with a dog must not, without reasonable excuse, allow the

dog to attack or harass a person or animal.

Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.

(2) The keeper of a dog commits an offence if the dog attacks or harasses a person or animal when it is not with a carer.

Maximum penalty: 50 penalty units.

(3) In a prosecution for an offence against subsection (2), it is a defence

if—

(a) the defendant establishes that the person or animal provoked

the dog; or

(b) the person or animal was attacked or harassed because the dog came to the aid of its keeper, or another person or animal that the dog could reasonably be expected to protect; or

© if the attack or harassment was on premises occupied by the

defendant, the defendant establishes that—

(i) the person was on the premises without reasonable

excuse; or

(ii) the person failed to take reasonable care of the person’s own safety.

In Victoria, Australia

Legal consequences in the event of an attack on a person or another animal( Source)

You are liable if your dog attacks:

  • a person or animal outside your property
  • someone trying to get to your front door
  • someone who has been invited onto your property.

An attack by your dog can lead to court action. If convicted, owners can face substantial fines. This is in addition to damages, which may potentially be thousands of dollars.

In such situations, dogs are often ordered to be destroyed or declared dangerous. Strict ownership controls are imposed on dangerous dogs for the rest of their lives.

Additional laws apply to owners of dogs that are:

  • restricted breed
  • dangerous
  • guard
  • menacing
  • attack trained.

Owners of these types of dogs can be jailed:

  • for up to 10 years if their dog kills someone
  • for up to 5 years if their dog endangers someone’s life

In a situation where Your Neighbour’s dog killed your cat.

If the cat belonged to you, there isn’t much more that has to be done to resolve the situation. 

To figure out how to properly dispose of the remains, you may want to check with your local county’s ordinances. Some counties forbid the burial of animals in backyards, as well as the spreading of cremains, and these restrictions apply to both.

If you live in such a county, your alternative options for disposing of the remains would be to transport them to an animal hospital or bury them in a pet cemetery.

If this is the only cat you have, I would strongly advise you to consider whether or not you want to get another one. Your dog will almost certainly attack any other cats that you bring into the household with you. 

If you already have other cats, you’ll need to keep them separated from your dog, at least for the duration of this experiment.

Your dog killed your neighbour’s cat

When defending its territory, any dog, regardless of size or breed, can become aggressive. 

Even the nicest and cutest dog may be trained to guard the area on or around its property — especially when its owner is not available to supervise the situation.

Every day, reports of dog attacks on people and other animals are filed with local authorities.

In most dog attacks in public areas, the attack takes place on a footpath or road in front of the attacking dog’s residence.

Dogs should be kept on the property to avoid 80 per cent of dog attacks in public locations, according to research.

Reasons for limiting your dog include the following:

  • It is a legal necessity for dog owners to have a licence.
  • The use of this collar prevents your dog from charging or chasing after someone.
  • Preventing dog attacks in public spaces is a priority.
  • Prevent your dog from straying, roaming, or becoming separated from you.
  • Prevent your dog from becoming a victim of traffic accidents or getting into fights with other dogs.
  • The situation can become a little more complicated if the cat that was killed by your dog belonged to a neighbour, friend, or family member…

Assuming that the property owner is not aware of what has occurred, it is your responsibility to find out who the owner is – if you do not already know – and alert them of what has occurred. 

You should approach this with as much sensitivity and consideration as possible because they will definitely be upset.

Depending on the circumstances and location of the occurrence, the cat’s owner may be able to file a lawsuit against you for his or her losses. 

The owner of the cat would be unlikely to be able to sue you if the cat entered your private property and died there as a result of your dog’s actions. 

You are not at blame in this circumstance as long as you did not provoke your dog to attack the cat.

However, if the incident occurred on public land or on someone else’s property, you may be held accountable for the damages caused. 

Please keep in mind, however, that I am not a lawyer and am not providing you with legal advice. 

If you believe you may be accountable for the death of the cat, you should consult with an experienced attorney immediately.

WHAT SHOULD BE DONE WITH THE DOG that attacked cat?

Just when your dog kills a cat does not imply that your dog is a horrible dog or that there is something wrong with him or with them. 

Wild bunnies and birds have been killed by my friend’s Foxhound. She is not a vicious animal that requires immediate euthanasia. She was bred to be a hunting dog. It is in her nature to prey on and kill little animals.

It is, of course, your option whether or not you want to keep your dog after it has killed another animal; but, I would strongly advise you to train your dog to get along with other animals rather than putting them down immediately after the incident. 

The best course of action if you do not believe you are up to the task on your own is to hire a professional trainer or enrol them in a socialisation programme.

What If the cat was a stray, 

If the cat was a stray, the first thing you should do is contact animal control. 

They will remove the animal’s body and conduct a rabies test on the animal on your behalf. 

You should take your dog to the veterinarian for a rabies booster vaccination as soon as possible after the incident, preferably within five days of the incident. 

Even if your dog has already received a rabies vaccination, he or she will require a booster vaccination.

However, rabies is not the only thing to be concerned about. Stray cats may have a variety of diseases, as well as parasites, therefore it is critical that you take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

If your dog has not been vaccinated against rabies and it is discovered that the cat they killed tested positive for rabies, your dog is required by law to be put down immediately. 

In order to avoid this, I usually recommend that people get their dogs vaccinated against rabies.

What would happen if my dog killed a cat in my backyard?

The short answer is that it becomes nasty & Messy, and the dog is generally the one that gets blamed. 

There are defences that can be used, but nothing can be guaranteed.

Training (from a professional) is beneficial since it reduces the likelihood of an assault while also demonstrating that you have taken precautions to reduce the risk.

How to prevent such Attacks?

It is preferable to have your yard cat proofed. Determine how the cat gained entry and take steps to prevent it. 

There is no way to stop a cat from roaming the neighbourhood, cats just don’t work that way. 

They are either kept inside the house always, or they are roaming the neighbourhood. 

Cats aren’t similar to dogs, you can’t just train them not to roam. It’s either an inside cat or an outside cat.

  1. You can easily add PVC rollers on your fence to prevent cats from climbing over.

2. if you are able to capture or trap the cat while it is on your property and transport it to a pound, you should consider doing so. 

A stray cat will be taken care of by the local pound if there is one. 

3. If it is someone’s cat, it is hoped that having to pay the release charge will persuade cat owners to refrain from allowing their cat to explore the neighbourhood freely and easily.

4. It is highly recommended that you do not leave your dog unaccompanied in the yard until the problem has been resolved.

5. Call animal control of your Local County when you see the cat in your yard. If that cat gets attacked by your dog one day that will be on record that you informed animal control (inform the owner as well).

References:

E.A. Gjelten. Liability for Injury to a Dog or Other Pet. Retrieved from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/dog-book/chapter9-3.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cats. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/cats.html

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