Renters and dogs- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Renters and dogs

    Can anyone offer a valid legal opinion on whether a landlord can be held responsible if they rent to someone with a known mean dog? I'm in WV, if that matters.

    A family has popped up on my regular ride with a rottweiler that they keep on a chain in an unfenced yard. The SOB goes slobbering mad every time I pass by. Today they had it off the leash and it chased me for about a block and a half but I had a rolling start and no way was it going to catch me. Then on the way back it was on the chain but it wanted a piece of me. If it could've gotten loose, I would've been forced to fight. There's no alternative route for me, plus, I'll be danged if I'm going to let some *******s ruin my fun when I'm out there not hurting a soul.

    The owner of the property owns several McDonald's here in town, and I'm considering taking the issue to him with a threat to hold him legally and financially responsible for what happens. But I'm not sure if that is a legally viable approach or not.

    Failing that, it's a Dog the bounty hunter sized can of bear mace and a stomping while it's down. I'd rather see it solved rationally though.

    I'm also going to talk to the other families in the neighborhood to see if they're having trouble with it yet. There's a crap-ton of kids that play all around that house, and that thing's a ticking time bomb from what I saw today. Somebody's going to get hurt badly, and saying sorry won't be a good enough response after that.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  2. #2
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    I'd try talking to the property owners and renters first. If there isn't an amiable solution, then call animal control. They'll likely do something to try and nip the problem in the bud. Maybe not in WV? I'm saying this because I doubt landlords would allow themselves to be tied to something their renters did.

    You could always do what my great-grandfather did. He shot the dog with a bb gun. Eventually it died of lead poisoning.

  3. #3
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    Well, I wouldn't call it a valid legal opinion, but my opinion is that the property owner would have some liability for anything that happens on the property, and if someone is bit, the landlord or their insurance company will likely have deeper pockets than the renter. Also, many insurance companies ban certain breeds from coverage (unfairly IMHO), so the landlord rather than the insurance company could be left holding the bag if rotties aren't covered. Perhaps you could point this out to him and get some accomodation like a fence or not having it loose. If you wait until there is an incident, you will probably need cash for a lawyer, on top of being injured,

  4. #4
    I'm just messing with you
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    Other than the woman who was stupid enough to have that thing out tonight off the chain, the only other people I've seen there look like teenage thugs to me. So, I'm doubtful of talking to them would do much good.

    The back yard is fenced, but they keep the dog out front, probably because there's kids in the houses on the street behind the house.

    I was reminded tonight that there's a tethering law, so that's something I'm going to look into. But since the dog's got a doghouse, I'm not sure if it applies.

    I'm starting to think that if I can't change the route, then it might be worthwhile to pay a lawyer whatever it costs to get an opinion and draft a letter to the property owner if his corporation would have liability in case of an attack. And there's the rub - corporation. For sure it'd be cheaper than paying for repairs after the thing gnaws on me.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    Other than the woman who was stupid enough to have that thing out tonight off the chain, the only other people I've seen there look like teenage thugs to me. So, I'm doubtful of talking to them would do much good.

    The back yard is fenced, but they keep the dog out front, probably because there's kids in the houses on the street behind the house.

    I was reminded tonight that there's a tethering law, so that's something I'm going to look into. But since the dog's got a doghouse, I'm not sure if it applies.

    I'm starting to think that if I can't change the route, then it might be worthwhile to pay a lawyer whatever it costs to get an opinion and draft a letter to the property owner if his corporation would have liability in case of an attack. And there's the rub - corporation. For sure it'd be cheaper than paying for repairs after the thing gnaws on me.

    Missed your chance, next time it gets loose and chases you keep going, call the dog if you have to, then call 911....even better ride to the cop shop with the dog still chasing you.

    Bub bye dog.

  6. #6
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    The dog wasn't that enthusiastic about chasing for long, At first I thought it'd be safer to stop and put the bike between us but he fell back so quick I just kept going.

    The bad part is coming back because then I'm on the same side of the road as his house. There he's about 10 ft or so from the road when at the end of his chain, and it isn't a big chain to begin with. I swear it looks like a chain from a yard swing.

    The thing's made me paranoid, but eventually it will meet its fate, and hopefully it won't even involve me.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    Can anyone offer a valid legal opinion on whether a landlord can be held responsible if they rent to someone with a known mean dog? I'm in WV, if that matters.

    A family has popped up on my regular ride with a rottweiler that they keep on a chain in an unfenced yard. The SOB goes slobbering mad every time I pass by. Today they had it off the leash and it chased me for about a block and a half but I had a rolling start and no way was it going to catch me. Then on the way back it was on the chain but it wanted a piece of me. If it could've gotten loose, I would've been forced to fight. There's no alternative route for me, plus, I'll be danged if I'm going to let some *******s ruin my fun when I'm out there not hurting a soul.

    The owner of the property owns several McDonald's here in town, and I'm considering taking the issue to him with a threat to hold him legally and financially responsible for what happens. But I'm not sure if that is a legally viable approach or not.

    Failing that, it's a Dog the bounty hunter sized can of bear mace and a stomping while it's down. I'd rather see it solved rationally though.

    I'm also going to talk to the other families in the neighborhood to see if they're having trouble with it yet. There's a crap-ton of kids that play all around that house, and that thing's a ticking time bomb from what I saw today. Somebody's going to get hurt badly, and saying sorry won't be a good enough response after that.
    Yes it chased you for a block and a half...

    Get a grip.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    The dog wasn't that enthusiastic about chasing for long, At first I thought it'd be safer to stop and put the bike between us but he fell back so quick I just kept going.

    The bad part is coming back because then I'm on the same side of the road as his house. There he's about 10 ft or so from the road when at the end of his chain, and it isn't a big chain to begin with. I swear it looks like a chain from a yard swing.

    The thing's made me paranoid, but eventually it will meet its fate, and hopefully it won't even involve me.

    Yes it chased you, you missed your chance to do something effective

    Sucks to be you.

  9. #9
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    Yeah it does
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  10. #10
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    Film that portion of your ride a couple of times, get some crazy attack dog footage, and file a police report.

    I don't think the landlord could be held liable, but I'm not the attorney...my wife is.

    I think your only course of action is to annoy the police every single time it happens, until something is done about it. Until then, sprint!
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  11. #11
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    If the dog does not have any documented human bites and the landlord isn't a dumbass then there will be something in the rental agreement relieving him from responsibility. It's not rock solid, but in court you'd probably have to prove that the landlord knew that the dog was human aggressive to get around it. Lot's of dogs are territorial and growl etc. Most will not actually bite, and even fewer will flat out maul a human. My advice would be to hit the grocery and buy a bag of the cheapest meatballs they sell. I get mine for 2.99 and I would not eat them myself, but the dogs go crazy over them. Just toss a couple his way as you ride up. I bet within a week he's wagging his tail when he sees you coming.

    If the dog has ever bitten a person and it was reported the situation changes. In most states a second bite means mandatory euthanasia and liability for owners. It's more leverage for approaching a landlord than "that dog barked at me when I got to the yard."
    Hey Butthead, are we gonna die? - Beavis

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    Film that portion of your ride a couple of times, get some crazy attack dog footage, and file a police report.

    I don't think the landlord could be held liable, but I'm not the attorney...my wife is.

    I think your only course of action is to annoy the police every single time it happens, until something is done about it. Until then, sprint!
    Regardless of your opinion about aggressive acting dogs, there is nothing illegal about having a dog that growls at people. Unless the off-leash issue comes up regularly there's really nothing for the police to do.
    Hey Butthead, are we gonna die? - Beavis

  13. #13
    I'm just messing with you
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    points all taken, thanks

    this isn't your run of the mill dog, I wish it was
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbrain
    Regardless of your opinion about aggressive acting dogs, there is nothing illegal about having a dog that growls at people.
    What about a dog that chases you down the road, endangering you by forcing you into a roadway? I love aggressive dogs...I want to kiss them all, but one chasing me into traffic seems like something I have the right to be upset about.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by wv_bob
    this isn't your run of the mill dog, I wish it was
    There are certainly mean dogs in the world who will bite people, and bite them badly. However, our current justice system is structured such that action is only taken after an unfortunate event. If the dog hurts someone **** will happen. If the dog is out off-leash a lot and leaves the yard, report it and they'll get a ticket but that's it. I do hope it's not a kid that gets hurt. A friendly chat about a thicker chain might not be a bad idea, but I guess that depends on the owners
    Hey Butthead, are we gonna die? - Beavis

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    What about a dog that chases you down the road, endangering you by forcing you into a roadway? I love aggressive dogs...I want to kiss them all, but one chasing me into traffic seems like something I have the right to be upset about.
    A dog chasing you is off-leash in a public area. That's a ticket. Nothing else unless you stop and let it bite you. The quickest way for this to be over is for Bob to stick his leg out and see what happens. The dog is either all bark, or it will bite him and then there's some legal leverage. He did say the off-leash incident was only once.
    Hey Butthead, are we gonna die? - Beavis

  17. #17
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    And because I'm worked up from a discussion yesterday I just though I would add this fun fact. There are about 4 million reported dog bites each year. About 30 are fatal. There are also about 4 million accidents in which cyclists are hit by cars. About 500 of them die. Just some perspective.
    Hey Butthead, are we gonna die? - Beavis

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbrain
    And because I'm worked up from a discussion yesterday I just though I would add this fun fact. There are about 4 million reported dog bites each year. About 30 are fatal. There are also about 4 million accidents in which cyclists are hit by cars. About 500 of them die. Just some perspective.
    And you never see cars on leash.

  19. #19
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    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

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