If your dog kills another dog, you’re looking at a bad situation, no matter the reason. Of course, the owner of the killed animal will be devastated. You’ll be devastated that your dog killed another dog. Your dog may or may not suffer consequences, depending on what caused the deadly fight. It’s an all around horrible thing. There are certain things that can and do happen in the event that your dog kills another dog, and these things are all specific to what caused the event to happen in the first place.
I have come across this question in several different forums, but I’ve never touched on it until now. I want to start out by saying that the information to follow is by NO MEANS legal advice. I also want to add that your experience may vary depending on where you live. However, in general, you can expect these things to happen in some capacity should there be an altercation resulting in death.
Related: Dog Attack – What to do if it Happens to Your Dog
What Can Happen if Your Dog Kills Another Dog
To begin with, remember one important fact. It is not the dog’s fault. Whether your dog killed another dog or your dog was killed by another dog, it is not their fault. Dogs are animals. They operate on instinct. It’s our responsibility to ensure that they are properly trained and socialized so that we minimize any potential risk of a horrible event like this from occurring. Should the unthinkable happen to your dog or to another person’s dog, it is vital to remember that the even, tragic as it may be, is not the dog’s fault. He’s just operating off of the instinctual programming hardwired into his head.
If Your Dog Was Attacked
If your dog was attacked, and you can prove it, most likely there will be no repercussions to you or your dog. If an altercation occurs due to another dog being off leash and/or attacking your dog, then you are not at fault. It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that their dog is firmly on-leash or in a fenced in yard that cannot be escaped. If either of those happens, neither you or your dog are liable for any injuries or death resulting from an altercation.
If Your Dog was the Aggressor or Escaped
On the flip side of this, if your dog was the aggressor or he escaped the yard, your dog is looking at some serious consequences. Hopefully, the owner understands that dogs operate on instinct, in which case you’ll want to step up and pay for the final expenses associated with the death of the other person’s dog. If, however, the owner is too hurt to understand the way a dog’s mind works or if your dog has a documented history of this behavior, your dog may well be put to sleep.
Even if your dog is spared, you’ll still be looking at heavy consequences. For example, if you rent, your renter’s insurance will likely be canceled or at least have premiums drastically raised. The same goes true for your homeowner’s insurance if you own your home. Another thing to note is that if you live in an area with “dangerous dog” laws, your dog will most likely be put to sleep whether the other owner seeks that action or not.
What to do After Your Dog Kills Another Dog
If your dog kills another dog, and you were not at fault, there’s probably nothing for you to do. Protecting himself is not an undesirable trait in a dog. You wouldn’t want him to roll over and just let the other dog maul him. If, however, your dog was the aggressor and/or has a history of aggressive tendencies, then you need to do what you should have done all along – seek professional, EXCELLENT training. I do not advocate for putting a dog aggressive dog to sleep. I advocate for proper training and diligence. With proper training, almost any dog can be made more safe.
It’s a nightmare for both you and the other owner if your dog kills another dog. It’s a situation that’s full of pain, sorrow, and high emotions that can result in some bad outcomes. Hopefully, you’ve trained your dog and socialized him to the point that if this happens to you it’s not your dog’s fault. If it is his fault and you are able to keep him, use the experience as a learning moment to realize that proper training is key. In any event, if your dog kills another dog, it’s the result of instinct and not maliciousness, and hopefully both you and the other owner remember that.