General Question

Jonsblond's avatar

Should I tell my landlord our upstairs neighbor’s dog bit my husband twice in the past few months?

Asked by Jonsblond (2843points) 1 week ago from iPhone

Upstairs neighbor is a single mom with a rescue pup and two grade school kids. We all moved into this house in August.

My husband was sitting in the backyard smoking back in September when one of the kids brought the dog out to pee and the dog got loose and bit my husband. Mom came out and apologized. My husband’s only concern was that the dog was up to date on its shots. Mom said yes.

Right after Christmas my husband was on the front porch smoking and they came out with the dog. It had a muzzle this time. It was able to reach behind my husband and bite him again, leaving a puncture wound this time. Mom apologized again and her boyfriend said the dog never does this. Everyone thinks my husband might look like the previous owner who abused the dog and this is why its aggressive towards him.

I’m not so forgiving and I worry someone in the future might get bit. What should I do?

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60 Answers

SergeantQueen's avatar

Well, the obvious is that the dog might get banned from the apartment and may have to go to a shelter. Would suck if that person has kids and they’d be hurt but if you feel it is a serious issue then tell.

Jonsblond's avatar

Yeah, this is a tough one. I don’t want the kids to be sad but someone might get hurt by this dog. I cleaned and dressed my husband’s wound the other night. What if it had bit a child?

JLeslie's avatar

I wouldn’t think to tell the landlord. How is it his problem? I might be completely wrong, I’ve never dealt with a dog biting rental situation.

After the second bite I would consider going to the authorities. I don’t even understand how the dog bit your husband with a muzzle on? Was the dog not on a leash the second time? I guess if they have the dog muzzled they know it’s a problem.

Zaku's avatar

How big and dangerous a dog is it?

(I too am curious how it managed to bite your husband again even with a muzzle on.)

I think, if it were socially plausible, I might try to have a conversation with the owner, ask them seriously if anyone else has been bitten or not, and to try to assess the owners. I might also see if it would be socially possible that the next step of escalation could be to let the owners know they need to get the dog trained, rather than you needing to report the dog.

Of course, communications like that would require the owners to be socially available to have those kinds of conversations with you. It’s not your obligation to try to do that, and if they’re unable to communicate responsibly about it, it’s not your fault. However as an animal lover, I would want to try before taking action that might likely result in the dog being killed.

NoMoreY_Aagain's avatar

The dog has to go.

Jonsblond's avatar

@JLeslie The landlord is responsible for the safety of their tenants. She’s (landlord) an animal lover and her husband is a veterinarian. She also has two toddlers. She’d be concerned if her tenants had a dog that’s dangerous. What if she brought her toddlers to the property and this dog was loose?

Maybe the muzzle was loose? My husband was perplexed as well, but it happened and the wound this time was worse than the first.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@JLeslie It’s the landlord’s problem BIG TIME! And the minute the victim notifies the landlord OR the authorities, the next dog bite is any liability lawyer’s dream. Somebody’s gonna pay a bumdle!

Jonsblond's avatar

Of course I don’t want the dog to be put down but how many times is my husband going to be bit? He stopped sitting in the backyard and sits on our deck instead. He’s changing his pattern for his safety.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jonsblond Did your husband go to the doctor for the bite?

With all that information I’d go ahead and tell your Landlord I guess. I still think holding a landlord responsible is unfair, but if the law is that the landlord has some responsibility then it’s only fair to inform them.

I guess this is just more reason why I would never rent out a property of mine to a tenant with a pet. I’m licensed in real estate and I don’t remember ever learning that the landlord has a legal responsibility or liability for a tenant’s pet. What a nightmare if that’s true. Did the landlord require you as a tenant to have insurance? That probably covers pet bites. Your neighbor’s insurance would cover the medical expenses from the bite I think if you have any.

Jonsblond's avatar

Insurance covering pet bites? My husband did not require a doctor. If a young child had been attacked it might be a different story.

Jonsblond's avatar

My point isn’t to hold the landlord responsible. I want this neighbor held responsible. It’s not my place to do so but it is the landlord’s.

JLeslie's avatar

@Jonsblond Maybe. If you get hurt on my property my homeowners insurance would cover it. I would guess that includes pets, but I am guessing. I wouldn’t go after the landlord’s insurance though if it were me, I would go to the pet owner. Did the landlord require you have renters insurance with liability coverage?

JLeslie's avatar

I found this https://www.valuepenguin.com/does-renters-insurance-cover-dog-bites If it’s correct renter’s insurance does cover dog bites.

Edit: Your husband was bitten. How is it not your place to take the dog owner to task?

Was the dog on a leash the second time?

Jonsblond's avatar

My concern is for future incidents. Is it my responsibility to report this somewhere?

Some of you know what a basket case the dog’s owner is. She shouldn’t have pets. It’s not the dogs fault. :(

ragingloli's avatar

Tell the man to stop smoking. It is clearly provoking the dog.

NoMoreY_Aagain's avatar

I think you should have reported it all ready. He can’t even sit on his own porch without being bitten by a dog? Hell to the no. They should keep it on a leash anyway. And after two incidents? Come on now.

JLeslie's avatar

I would have gone ape shit after a second bite.

I called the city and property manager when a house near me had barking scary dogs on their front lawn with no fence. They may have had an invisible fence. I called hoping there was a rule or reg against scary breeds or invisible fences. No such luck. Most places I’ve lived didn’t allow certain breeds, but that wasn’t the case where I lived in TN. Those dogs were just barking. If there had been a law or rule (there wasn’t) I would have reported them in a millisecond.

NoMoreY_Aagain's avatar

Bite me once shame on you. Bite me twice shame on me.

Jonsblond's avatar

This situation sucks. I don’t want the dog hurt. :(

Jonsblond's avatar

I do want my neighbor gone.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Back in the 70s a friend of mine was a postman working from a delivery station that serviced a posh neighborhood. On the same block as the Post Office was the office of a PI lawyer who made a comfortable living playing the St Francis Woods dogbite sweepstakes. I think the guy’s name was Wiggins, but whatever his name, every postman in the station knew that a dogbite in the woods was worth $600 (minimum).

NoMoreY_Aagain's avatar

I’m sure that nobody wants the dog hurt. But the owners should exercise some responsibility. “Gee I’m sorry” is pretty lame after two incidents.

Jonsblond's avatar

I agree @NoMore

stanleybmanly's avatar

Maybe I am confusing the shyster with the fabulous Mrs Whuiggins. I LOVED those sketches.

Sagacious's avatar

I would call the police and have the dog picked up. There is no one-bite grace law. If the dog bit a human it needs to go.

Jonsblond's avatar

^My head agrees with you. My heart feels for the pup.

Pup is almost a year old and probably 60 lbs.

cheebdragon's avatar

You need to mention your concerns to your landlord, preferably in an email or text message, not over the phone because you need to have documented evidence about the dog being a potential problem. If the dog bites him again you should definitely consider filing a civil suit against the dogs owner and landlord.

cheebdragon's avatar

@Sagacious It depends on where you live. Riverside county, for example has a two-bites within 48 months policy.

johnpowell's avatar

My sister had a dog, a Pit Bull. This was about 18 months ago. I was uncomfortable around the dog, and so was my sisters son. He had a problem with 20–40 year old males. Probably abused.

But one day the dog bolted out the front door, ran 100 yards down the driveway and bit a teenage boy walking to the school bus. It was our neighbors son. They could have sued. But they just asked that the dog no longer live here.

A few days later my sisters husband shot the dog in the back of the head while it was sleeping.

You just can’t have dogs running around biting people.

Edit :: and the wait of a few days to kill the dog was spent trying to find a farm or something to take it. Nobody wanted a bitey pit bull.

janbb's avatar

I know you have a number of issues with this tenant. I think perhaps you and Jon should write to the landlord or arrange a meeting with her and talk to her about all the complaints, some of which the landlord observed. The dog bites are a sad issue. As you know, I had to get rid of Frodo when he bite a few times. Do you have the dates and times of the incidents?

I do think this all needs to be dealt with. It is making you too unhappy.

JLeslie's avatar

Yeah, @janbb is right. It’s all too much now. I hope you are documenting everything. I’d be writing what happens when on a calendar, and take some photos. For all you know she isn’t paying rent on time and the landlord might finally get rid of her with the additional information.

You talked a lot about being a good neighbor, but the fact is she isn’t a good neighbor. If you have talked to her honestly and openly about your frustrations with the laundry, pumpkin, etc, and she isn’t changing I’d either move or see if you can get her moved. Letting the landlord take care of it if you choose the latter gets some of the culpability off of your hands. You never know how people will react.

longgone's avatar

I feel for you. My aunt is in a similar situation (though the dog hasn’t bitten yet, it’s likely that it will unless it receives training). The family can’t use their backyard without worrying about their safety.

That said: this is the Lassie syndrome at its best. When a human hurts another human – even severely – we make all sorts of allowances. Parents hit their kids. People punch each other at the bar. Enraged women slap males for unwanted advances. Teenagers beat up their classmates for not being cool enough.

None of those behaviours are okay. Certainly, they should be addressed. But they should not be an instant death sentence, as they are for dogs in many places around the world. For people, we understand that violence has many different causes and does not necessarily mean an individual is a threat to society. In a dog that large, bites that didn’t need a doctor’s attention are little more than a warning. You say the second bite caused a puncture wound, so I’m guessing the first one did not break the skin?

If I were you – as a fellow animal lover – I would write that lady a very serious letter. I would state that you are worried for your safety, and want the dog to receive professional training immediately. I would add that this training needs to be based on positive reinforcement because for aggressive dogs, any other type of training can make the problem much worse. This is because dogs who are punished for aggression tend to “freeze” and stop doing much of anything. Then, when something triggers them, they can go ballistic. Extremely risky. A trainer working with positive reinforcement, on the other hand, will pinpoint the dog’s problem and teach him to react to perceived threats in a calm manner. It’s very possible that dog will start trusting your husband and bond with him. At a year old, I really think you should try to help give him a chance.

However, my letter would also make clear that the dog cannot be outside without a short leash (preferably attached to a front-leading harness, as that makes large dogs much easier to handle) and a well-fitted (!) muzzle. Properly attached muzzles make it impossible for a dog to bite – that’s their sole reason for existence. If this dog bit despite wearing a muzzle, they probably didn’t attach it right or bought one that is too big.

I would further say that failure to meet these requirements will lead to your contacting the landlord. And I’d keep a copy of that letter.

This way, you will quickly find out if the family will do what it takes to help keep their neighbours and dog safe. If not, the dog is better off without them and should be rehomed.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’d call Animal Control. Explore your options. You need to be able to make sure that the dog is vaccinated, and ensure that it won’t bite anyone else.
There is a lot of bacteria, in a dog’s mouth. Depending on the size of the dog, it could do some real damage to someone. The fact that the owner has a muzzle, means that they already know it’s a dangerous animal.
It should not be able to get a good bite, through a muzzle. It may have too big, of a muzzle.
The owner needs to get this shit under control. Muzzles, are typically used only for medical treatment. They could take it to a training class, or you could sue they’re asses.
Animal training isn’t everyone’s strong suit. If they can’t train it, not to bite people, they need to find someone who can.
There are also a number of medical issues, that could cause this problem. For example, an intracranial tumor. Does this dog have seizures?

If it’s just a puppy, it will bite. Until it knows better. But you can’t let this BS go on. The sad fact, is, this dog is dangerous. That has to be addressed.

You should be safe, in your home.

I owned a Pit bull, for 15 years. She was taught, by me, not to bark, and not to bite. She lived with multiple kittens, and was around a lot of people. I trained her, “no bites, no barks.” I could hold my hands in front of her face, and say “bite me, I dare you,” and she wouldn’t. Because she knew better. I used to take her everywhere. She would occasionally be in a cage, with multiple kittens. I had a saying, “don’t hurt the babies.” She understood that she wasn’t allowed to hurt anything. Because I trained her, that her hurting something, would be BAD. She would scratch people, by jumping on them. But she had a heart of gold. If she knew that she was actually hurting something, she’d have been really upset. She just had a lot of energy. But, Pit bull’s, have a great heart. They are one of the most loving breeds. But. You have to train them.
I would take her to the beach. I took her to lines of people waiting for a movie. It’s called socialism. You can train them, to be friends with everything. She was friendly with my snake, Monty, and friends with everything. She got attacked a lot. Because she had boundary issues. She would run up to any animal, and just lick their face.
Not every dog liked it. So, she got bit a lot. But, she was just trying to be loving. I stopped taking her to the dog park, because she always got assaulted.
I buried her ashes, at a dog park, about 100 yards, from my house. I hope that she can run free there now. I buried her ashes, by a bench there. I go there often, and talk to her. She was my baby. She never bit anyone, and was one of the most loving animals, I ever knew. You just have to train them….

This person needs to train their dog, or find a place that will…
Maybe, they could get a Pet Smart, or something similar. If they aren’t capable of training it…
It’s time to have a discussion with them. They need to get their shit together…
A dog, is trainable.
Time for action.
Get this shit straight….

This is not my opinion. It can be done….

LadyMarissa's avatar

IF this is the same lady that’s too lazy to take her laundry out of the washer or dryer, I’d NEVER simply take her word that he’s had his Rabies shot..I’d be demanding to see proof!!!

You also could play stupid with the landlord’s husband (the vet). Make a comment that the lady upstairs dog has bitten your husband twice & you need to know what symptoms to be watching out for since she hasn’t shown proof of a Rabies shot. He’ll probably comment to his wife & IF she’s got any sense, she’ll check into it herself.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’m a dog lover and last thing I would ever want is for one to be put down. That said, dogs can and do attack and hurt or even kill people. That’s a bad apple that will cause harm to someone later. I would politely speak with the neighbor, ask for proof of vaccinations and also that either the dog find a new home or they find another apartment to live in. Otherwise animal control will be called.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

One thing that drives me insane is when dog owners claim their dog “never does this”. As if that makes it okay or it’s somehow the person who gets bit fault. Your husband did nothing wrong. If he can’t even enjoy his own outdoor space without worrying about being bit by an unpredictable dog, report it to whoever necessary. This owner has kids and just because the dog hasn’t bit them yet doesn’t mean it won’t.

janbb's avatar

Personally, I would only call Animal Control right after the dog had bitten and have documentation handy. Otherwise, it could just become she said/he said. I do think, as I said above that the best way to handle all these issues is through the landlord and if, as you say, the landlord is a vet, she’ll know the best way to handle the biting dog.

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Inspired_2write's avatar

At the very least one should find out if that “pup” had its ‘distemper” shots?
Also any other required updated shots.
Person that was bit should had had that checked out with his Doctor to determine if any disease was passed on to him?
Health number one, for both the man and the dog.
Then the neighborhood,safety.

jca2's avatar

I understand the dilemma of not wanting to tell anyone else out of concern for the dog.

My feeling is, if the dog bit your hubby twice, it’s just a matter of time before it bites someone else. Maybe it will end up doing serious damage next time, to whomever it bites. Next time, if it bites someone else, they might not be so kind to not call the authorities. Maybe next time the dog will run out the door and attack your husband, and do some major damage.

I agree with telling the landlord, because she is a vet and she will know what to do. Maybe she will have some advice for the tenant who owns the dog. At the very least, it will be good for her to know in case something happens next time.

SEKA's avatar

We have a 1 bite grace where the dog isn’t considered aggressive. With the 2nd bite, the owner is put on notice that with 3 strikes the dog will either be quarantined or put down depending on the severity of the attack. By law, we are required to report any bites to Animal Control so they can investigate & document each circumstance.

A 60 pound 1 year old dog isn’t exactly a pup. If upset, it can do some real damage

NoMoreY_Aagain's avatar

Whatcha gonna do when when they come for you bad dog bad dog!

Sagacious's avatar

@cheebdragon The ordinance defines a dangerous animal as one that has attacked or bitten someone twice within a 48-month period. That does not preclude criminal and/or civil action against an owner by someone harmed by such owner’s animal. Animal owners have strict liability for any damage done to person or property by their animal. In your county a dog who has been reported to charge or show any aggression against a person is classified as a vicious dog. These definitions are used to determine which level of license is required to keep any particular dog. Also for sterilization requirements. See Section 3342 in the California code: “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place.” There are no grace bites. This is my personal opinion after reading both the ordinance and the state code.

MrGrimm888's avatar

The CDC, can force a few options. They can force the owner to provide vaccine history, euthanize the dog, or quarantine it. Rabies, has NO cure. You don’t want to get it. I’ve seen dozens of animals, with rabies. The first one I saw, was a horror show. A raccoon, eating it’s own hands.
I was mauled several times, at the Emergency Veterinary Hospital. I knew some girls, that got stuck in a big cage, with a dog, and it almost killed them.

A 130 lb girl, vs a 60 lb dog, doesn’t go well. You can teach a dog, to behave. Usually. But, this dog sounds really dangerous. If you have a child over, it could kill them. Take action, and get something done. People aren’t allowed to attack people. Neither or animals.
Call Animal Control, and they’ll take action to force the owners, to do something about it. They’ll contact CDC, and MAKE them do something about it.
They sound like terrible neighbors. Fuck them. There are ways to deal with them… Use those tools.
You have a neighbor shitting on you. Stick up for yourself…

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cheebdragon's avatar

@Sagacious Of course the owner is always liable, but that doesn’t seem to be the main concern in this situation, from my understanding jonsblond is worried about what would happen to the animal if the bite had been reported and animal control shows up. You said there is no one bite grace law and in terms of liability there is not, but I was referring to what would happen to the animal. One bite isn’t going to lead to the animal being put down or even removed from the owners care (in riverside county).

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I just can not fathom how people can keep obviously dangerous dogs around their children. If you had small kids I would suggest doing.what ever it takes to get rid of them. Call the cops, call the landlord, write an OP in the local paper.
But you don’t have small kids. You and Jon need to discuss this.

NoMoreY_Aagain's avatar

After her hubby getting bit twice I’d say it’s time for something more than just a discussion. Just Sayin’.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

It’s her decision. Jon is the one who keeps getting bit.

ragingloli's avatar

It is probably his fault, too.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I bet they’d like you to talk to them, because the alternative is the dog is put down, given a new home, or Jon kicks it in the face next time it tries to get over on him. It’s sad that the owners are so irresponsible.

MrGrimm888's avatar

It’s definitely a shitty situation. They could move. But, that wouldn’t be fair…

LadyMarissa's avatar

Being bitten by the neighbor’s dog isn’t fair either!!!

MrGrimm888's avatar

Agreed. Its beyond time, to something.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I hate confrontation so I sympathize with you guys. If it happens again, though, I’d call the police. Be strong.

Jonsblond's avatar

Thanks everyone, I apologize for the late response. Life has been busy and hectic. Your help and opinions are appreciated so much. I don’t know what I’d do without you all. I haven’t done or said anything yet to anyone. I do plan to approach my landlord with my concerns at some point. I can’t let this go without her knowing. If this happens again authorities will be called.

MrGrimm888's avatar

You can call the police, and just report the incidents, and ask for no response. Documentation, is important. It’s called building a case…
Hubby might end up in the hospital, receiving antibiotics. I’ve been there. It costed $8,000. Even if he has insurance, there will be a co-pay charge. In that case, you sue them. Documentation, makes the outcome more favorable.
I don’t like litigation. But, shit. This is all on the owner. Not you guys…

Just saying…

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