Do I have to pay the medical bills? Will my dog be put down?

Q: I have a dog. He was at home when my brother had his friend over. The boy went and provoked the dog by taking away his good dish while he was eating. The dog, out of defense for his food, bit him in the side of the face. The people are threatening to put him down and want me to pay 3 large in hospital bills. The wound became infected because it was not treated properly causing them more hospital visit making the bills rise. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: You may eventually have to pay medical bills, but do not let these idiots bully you into putting your dog down. It should not be a trade-off. It has been a while since I defended a property owner on dog bite case, however my recollection is that they would have to prove this animal had vicious tendencies, you knew it was vicious and it attacked unprovoked. Certainly not the case here. In my case, the dog bit a girl who stuck her head in the closet where the mother dog was nursing new born pups. Find an attorney that will help you-one is out there. I don’t know if you have been cited with a citation under the PA Dog Law, or just threatened with a civil suit. Call Animal Friends, and any other organization who stands up for animal rights. They may be able to refer you to someone. For them to get you to pay 3K in medical bills, it will take a law suit and at least a year. You have some defenses if there is a lawsuit in that the dog was provoked. You might win. You have some time. Also, if you have homeowner’s insurance, report this as soon as possible. There may be coverage for you.

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