Early this year, FOX 17 reported a very sad incident about a family whose two dogs were shot by their neighbor.
The Walker family resides in Neywago County on a 100-acre property.
Their two pups, Colt and Ruger, had slipped to a neighbor’s home and met their unfortunate ends.
Ruger was shot in the legs and couldn’t make his way back home. The family tracked him down 15 miles away from home where they found him dying of his wounds.
Colt, on the other hand, dragged himself on his two front feet and made it home to the utter shock and agony of his owners.
The neighbor didn’t deny the claims to Fox 17 claiming that the beasts were in the habit of trespassing and disturbing his livestock.
On the D-day, the dogs were in his driveway and tried to run when he opened fire.
The owners had the dogs euthanized, which they say, broke their hearts terribly.
This is one of those stories that make you cry for the justice of any dog.
Sadly, many people have been victims of the same in one way or another.
From poisoning their neighbor’s dogs to running them over with their cars and shooting them, human beings are capable of the unthinkable.
If it happened to you, what would you do?
Can You Sue?
Losing a dog in any fashion is one of the most heartbreaking things any pet parent can experience.
Pets essentially become valued members of the family. Their lives matter just like those of humans.
So, when your beloved doggie is killed by a neighbor, you will want justice.
Sure, it doesn’t bring the pet back but it gives you one last chance to fight for the poor animal. You also get to keep the world a little safer for other dogs.
Yes, you can sue your neighbor if they kill your sweet pet according to Peta.
Different states have different laws surrounding these types of lawsuits but generally, no person has a right to kill another person’s pet. It doesn’t matter what the dog has done.
There are alternative ways to deal with disturbances caused by dogs. Killing is simply not an option.
What Are The Steps To Follow if a Neighbor Killed Your Dog?
You just found out that your dog was killed by a neighbor. Where do you start?
1. Get Your Evidence
Once you realize that your sweet pup has been killed, take the body to the vet to have it necropsied and take a photo of it.
Get a statement that clearly explains the injuries in detail. If there was any treatment provided by the vet, have it written down as well.
In case the dog died from poisoning, the body of the deceased animal should undergo laboratory tests to prove the same.
Also, gather witness testimonials and statements to be presented in court.
Finally, get the market value of your dog. If you are not sure of your pup’s current market value, check out this post for inspiration: 30 Dog Breeds With Pictures and Prices
2. Confront the Neighbor
Don’t make further steps without talking to your neighbor. This will get you nowhere most of the time.
The neighbor can further insult you adding to your pain. They may deny the claims but regardless, let them know you are aware that they caused harm to your pet.
Try to be polite and find out why they killed your doggie in the first place.
Request for financial compensation for the bills incurred in treating the animal and putting you through emotional torture.
If they don’t apologize, inform them that you intend on pressing charges.
3. Report the Matter To The Police Or Animal Control
The third order of business is to report the issue to the law enforcement agencies. They should arrest the neighbor if your evidence is good enough.
4. File A Suit
Once you have your evidence in place, the next thing to do would be to file a claims suit at the local courthouse.
You do not need a lawyer to do this but if you can afford one, go ahead and hire them.
The file form costs about $30 -$50 and after filing it, the court will give you a hearing date.
When you come back for your court date, you will be asked to present your evidence. This includes receipts of any expenses of the dog, identification documents, vet bills, and a vet’s signed statement.
What To Expect
According to experts in the field of law, dogs are treated legally as property.
What this means is that if you file small claims in court, you will only be granted the dollar value of your pup.
Like losing a TV, you can only get the amount you spent purchasing it and nothing more.
When you file a charge against your neighbor, the likelihood of getting any compensation is very low.
Fortunately, some states/courts now recognize pets as more than properties.
Besides offering the market value of the dog, some go as far as asking the defendant for emotional and punitive damages.
You’d be lucky if you live in such a state. An example is this case that took place in Ontario, Canada.
The plaintiff whose dog had been killed by another ended up with damages for mental distress after losing her doggie.
The total amount received amounted to $2527 part of which included pain and suffering damages.
Instead of filing a simple claims suit, you can also file a criminal charge against your neighbor.
This is a more complex lawsuit but one which may infringe more punishment on the perpetrator.
First things first, get the body that deals with anti-cruelty codes in your locality or state.
Approach them and provide a detailed statement of the incident. Include dates, and times, factual witness statements, and your won statement.
File a complaint with the police, humane officer, or district attorney.
There’s no telling what you will get after filing a criminal charge against your neighbor.
The judge will look at several things like your responsibility in letting the dog harm the neighbor (if that is what happened), what the doggie did to provoke the neighbor, the history of the dog’s bad or good behavior, and more.
You can only present a strong case and hope for the best.
Suing your neighbor for killing your dog is very much within the realm of possibilities.
However, sometimes it takes too much from you. You might be forced to hire attorneys, spend money on filing charges, and subject yourself to emotional distress.
If the cost of suing goes higher than your liking, consider letting go altogether.
Mother Nature has a way of repaying people for the bad they do in the world. Your neighbor will soon pay for his crimes.
It will hurt you but you don’t need more suffering than what you’ve already gone through.
Image sources: 1, 2, 3
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Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.