Son's dog was attacked and I need some legal advice please!! (long post)

miu2

Chewy Redlands CA Police K-9
O.G.
Jun 27, 2007
8,149
6
CA
Okay, here is what happened.

I wanted to take my son to a church event held at the Anaheim Angel Stadium (Harvest Crusade) this weekend. The event was free. I booked a room at a Pet-Friendly Hilton Hotel for 2 nights. We arrived on Friday, the event was on Saturday evening and we were to leave on Sunday.

On Saturday afternoon my son took his Chihuahua down to pee. Cujo (his Chi) was on a leash and he was passing a girl (around 12 - 13 years old) who had a Yorkie in her arms and another dog (around 15 -20 lbs) on a makeshift leash (it was just a leash wrapped around the dog's neck) on the ground. As he passed the girl, the dog on the ground started going after Cujo. The dog gets off the leash and my son tries kicking it away from Cujo and starts yelling at the girl to "get her dog". The little girl just freezes and does nothing. Well, her dog gets ahold of Cujo and bites him around the neck and shakes him. Finally, my son gets Cujo away from the other dog, but he is bleeding pretty severely. My son calls me and I run down, and the girl's father shows up as well. He asks how our dog is and I tell him that I need to get him to a vet asap. He says, okay well my room number is XXX and contact him when we get back.

Well Cujo had some pretty severe lacerations and the vet had to do surgery on him and place a drain from his back all the way to the front of his chest. The bill was $750.

When I get back to the hotel, the Hilton couldn't "get involved" according to the manager, but could call the guy's room for me (big deal). He comes down and now starts to tell me that he doesn't think that they are responsible for the entire bill. Says that he has impartial witnesses that saw the entire incident and feels that we are partially to blame. Ok, so I tell him to give the witnesses my room number and to please contact me so that I can hear what they have to say. In the meantime, per vet's instructions, someone must stay with Cujo for the rest of the evening to keep an eye on his condition. So I miss the event (sent my son though who was pretty shaken up by now). I wait until 8pm and never receive any calls from anyone. I call the guy's room at 8:15pm, 9pm and 10pm with no answer. Left him a message to please get in touch with me so that we can settle this. My son gets back from the event and tells me that he saw the guy in the lobby and when the guy saw him, he turned the other way. Great!!

I'm extremely angry at this point and call animal control because I had no other way of getting this person's information (he never gave me his name or any info whatsoever). The next morning, animal control officer comes out and finds this guy and lets him know that I am filing a report against him. He is from OK and we are in CA.

Here are my questions:
1. should I pursue him through small claims and if so, is it a hard thing to do considering that he is from another state?
2. should I instead file with my homeowners insurance and let them go after him?
3. even though the event was free, my only purpose for booking rooms at the Anaheim Hilton was in order to attend the event. Can I sue him for the one night's room charges since I had to stay with Cujo and miss the event?
4. shouldn't anyone walking a dog in an area where other dogs are present be expected to be able to control their dog at all times. Considering that this 12/13 year old girl had 2 dogs, should she have been allowed to walk them by herself?

Anyone know the answers to these questions or have any advice? I still have to add up the other vet bills we are incurring since we had to take Cujo to our local vet for the follow up treatment. TIA!!!
 

Irishgal

I run with scissors
O.G.
Apr 22, 2006
15,402
2,997
Long and Low Farms
Oh man. I am sorry this happened.
I would do the small claims court, but go online and research about how it works when the other person is out of state. Honestly, I think if the guy bails it will be hard to get money from him. He was already trying to get out of it at the event so no doubt now that he is home or headed home he feels he is off scott free.

Meanwhile, how is the doggie?
 

Charles

Sucks at budgeting
O.G.
Jan 5, 2007
15,475
3,485
46
Jacksonville, Fl
When it comes to court it's all about witnesses. How many witnesses do you have that can say your dog was not at fault at all? How many does he have that can say your dog provoked his??
Honestly, this might be something that you're just going to have to eat.
Now, you might be able to intimidate him a bit by filing charges (meaning he'll have to travel to CA, taking time off from work, airline fees, etc) and getting him to paypal you some money.

Side note...did the Yorkie have Doberman in it? Sheesh!
 

xosweetie

Member
Oct 26, 2007
89
0
Please don't let this pass by, as much as you want to be polite. The fact that he avoided answering you even as you politely ask him to settle this shows his guilt. I suggest you get the police involved before this guy leaves, and you're left with all the hospital bills.
 

miu2

Chewy Redlands CA Police K-9
O.G.
Jun 27, 2007
8,149
6
CA
Oh man. I am sorry this happened.
I would do the small claims court, but go online and research about how it works when the other person is out of state. Honestly, I think if the guy bails it will be hard to get money from him. He was already trying to get out of it at the event so no doubt now that he is home or headed home he feels he is off scott free.

Meanwhile, how is the doggie?
Hi Irishgal!!

I swear, me and doggies, the drama never ends!!! :huh:

Cujo had his drain removed this afternoon and is FINALLY eating again. Here are some pics of his injuries:

Sorry for the crappy pics.
 
Dec 14, 2005
7,818
6
USA
Please don't let this pass by, as much as you want to be polite. The fact that he avoided answering you even as you politely ask him to settle this shows his guilt. I suggest you get the police involved before this guy leaves, and you're left with all the hospital bills.
Ita! At the very least I would file a police report.
I know the Hotel doesn't want to get involved, but could they show the police the surveillance footage from the time your dog was attacked?

I hope your furbaby makes a speedy recovery!
 

miu2

Chewy Redlands CA Police K-9
O.G.
Jun 27, 2007
8,149
6
CA
When it comes to court it's all about witnesses. How many witnesses do you have that can say your dog was not at fault at all? How many does he have that can say your dog provoked his??
Honestly, this might be something that you're just going to have to eat.
Now, you might be able to intimidate him a bit by filing charges (meaning he'll have to travel to CA, taking time off from work, airline fees, etc) and getting him to paypal you some money.

Side note...did the Yorkie have Doberman in it? Sheesh!
No witnesses on either side. Only my son's word against the 12 year old's. Now the animal control officer said that the courts would (at the very least) assign 50/50 responsibility if both dogs were on leash. Problem is that her dog got off leash because it was not wearing a real collar (only the leash looped around the dog's neck as a makeshift collar).

The Yorkie was the second dog being held in the girl's arms while the other dog was attacking Cujo. I don't think that she should have been allowed to take both of these dogs by herself in an area that other dogs could be present. Obviously she couldn't control them both. (am I "reaching" at making this assumption?)

I am so tired of "eating" these kinds of things!! Seriously, this incident really ruined my weekend with my son entirely. I felt so bad listening to poor little Cujo whimpering all night and seeing my son so upset due to his dog's injuries!!! I am just so mad and am tired of irresponsible people who will not step up and do the right thing. If it were my dog that attacked his, I would have been so sorry and would have driven them to the vet's myself and paid the bill right then and there!!!
 

miu2

Chewy Redlands CA Police K-9
O.G.
Jun 27, 2007
8,149
6
CA
Please don't let this pass by, as much as you want to be polite. The fact that he avoided answering you even as you politely ask him to settle this shows his guilt. I suggest you get the police involved before this guy leaves, and you're left with all the hospital bills.
I actually contacted the police on the night the incident happened. They referred me to Animal Control as it would be their jurisdiction and most likely a civil matter as opposed to a criminal matter.
 

miu2

Chewy Redlands CA Police K-9
O.G.
Jun 27, 2007
8,149
6
CA
Ita! At the very least I would file a police report.
I know the Hotel doesn't want to get involved, but could they show the police the surveillance footage from the time your dog was attacked?

I hope your furbaby makes a speedy recovery!
Oooh, hadn't thought about that!! Thanks so much!! I will look into this tomorrow!!!
 

boomie

Dogs Rule
Nov 24, 2008
2,314
0
Norfolk, Va
Poor poor little thing! Wish I had some good advice...I would be SO upset! Are there hotel cameras? Doh, just saw the post above...I hope there's footage!

Hope everything works out!
 

unluckystars

Member
Dec 11, 2008
4,362
123
philly
after watch a lot of small claims on tv i'd think you would be entitledthe entire vet bill because the other dog was not leashed and controlled. i dont think you would get any other compensation though. go after these idiots!!
 

shanam

62 is the new 40 LOL
Aug 15, 2006
2,093
2
Connecticut
Awwww, poor baby. I hope he is ok. Since neither of your are local, the hassles and frustration of going through small claims court will probably not be worth it. As Charles said, you will probably just have to accept it and be happy your doggy is ok. of course you could always try Judge Judy - bet she would find in your favor since the child really had no control over her pet.
 

Miss T

Member
Jul 16, 2008
277
0
:wtf: those pictures! poor baby. I think I would definitely call the police and file a report, and maybe they can give you some advice on the direction this might go in. I hoping this guy's conscience gets the better of him and he'll cooperate with you. Hugs to your little guy.

oops..just saw that you contacted the police/animal control. I don't think you are "reaching" with the assumption that the girl couldn't control both dogs... especially since the one who attacked Cujo wasn't really properly restrained. Hoping this all works in your favor!
 

miss alice

Dogs Rule!!
O.G.
May 24, 2006
3,776
7
In the Shoes with Red Soles
OMG!!!! I am sorry but seeing Cujo's injuries makes my heart sink into the pit of my stomach!!! I am sooo sorry this had to happen...Is Cujo in pain still?? I feel terrible...sigh..

You asked some pretty intricate legal questions..its almost 1am where I am (EST) so I am about to pass out..lol. But, I will think it over and write a more proper response tomorrow.

I hope other TPFers with legal background can also chime in..I know there are many attorneys on our forum.

((HUGS)) to you...Please give Cujo a kiss from me. Poor baby!!
 

lorihmatthews

A taste for the arts
O.G.
Oct 7, 2006
31,834
7,186
San Francisco
Ugh, I am so sorry this happened to little Cujo. I adopted my Chi/Pom mix from animal control this spring and she is so reactive to other dogs because she was so undersocialized that when I take her out she is always on leash and with a gentle leader collar (one that goes around her snout).

I actually feel bad for the girl as well as your son, she probably had no idea what to do with no parental supervision.

Here are my thoughts:

1. should I pursue him through small claims and if so, is it a hard thing to do considering that he is from another state? I have unsuccessfully tried to do this, it is a huge hassle and takes considerable time and effort. Plus, you will have to go to that person's state to appear in court.
2. should I instead file with my homeowners insurance and let them go after him? Only if it won't raise your premiums.
3. even though the event was free, my only purpose for booking rooms at the Anaheim Hilton was in order to attend the event. Can I sue him for the one night's room charges since I had to stay with Cujo and miss the event? You could, but then again since he's in another state you would have to try through small claims court.
4. shouldn't anyone walking a dog in an area where other dogs are present be expected to be able to control their dog at all times. Considering that this 12/13 year old girl had 2 dogs, should she have been allowed to walk them by herself? I don't think anyone can 100% predict what dogs will do. However -- I do believe the hotel should have a rule that dogs must be on leash all the time, no matter what. I'd ask the hotel for a refund and see where that takes you.