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Owner Of Dangerous Dog Must Be Prepared To Assume Financial Responsibility


Here is a story that is both interesting and deeply concerning. It’s about two neighbors in Chico. One has a permanent pack of pit-bulls as pets, one particularly dangerous pit-bull called Princess. The other neighbor, who shares the driveway with this dog owner, has been bitten by the same dog twice, which has attacked him unprovoked leaving him with a permanent scar on his body.

According to an article in the Chico Enterprise, city officials have agreed that this vicious dog is to be confined in the property and muzzled in public, but not be put down. Obviously, neighbors are concerned that someone is going to die because of this dog in their community. Many neighbors and witnesses who have seen the dog in action say it is potentially dangerous, the article states.

City officials filed a complaint and requested a hearing regarding Tyler Doman’s dog after the victim, Doman’s neighbor, Niels Cecil Nielsen had been twice attacked and bitten by the dog. The Domans have reportedly agreed to all demands made by the city including keeping the pit-bull confined and muzzled, getting the dog licensed, vaccinated, micro-chipped for identification and getting it spayed.

Apparently Doman has the right to own more than three dogs, which is the maximum allowed under the city’s ordinance, because he owns large properties in the neighborhood. That could well be, but another important issue that arises here is one of financial responsibility. When there is an insurance requirement, this dog owner will have to pay an insurance premium equal to the amount of risk there is to someone actually being attacked by the dogs.

It is like an economic balance act. The lower the risk, the smaller the insurance cost and the larger the risk, the higher the insurance cost. There is an issue of fairness here as well. Sure the property owner is entitled to his rights to own and enjoy pets. But if someone is going to suffer the damages of an impending dog attack, should we leave it to the innocent, helpless neighbor to suffer the losses or should we require the dog owner to insure against the impending damage and loss?

There is no question that the dog owner must take financial responsibility. My feeling is that the dog’s owner will do whatever he has to in order to ensure the safety of the neighborhood. It is a tough act to keep a sane balance between an individual’s right to own animals and the neighborhood’s right to live in a safe environment.

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