Q: We live in Fairfield County, and we were having a birthday party in the backyard for my ninety-year-old mother. All of a sudden, my neighbor’s dog, which has been a problem in the past, crawled under the fence. He began running through the party creating utter chaos. Several specimens rose bushes were trampled, children were crying and screaming, my mother fell and broke her leg and my wife was bitten when she tried to shoo the dog away. Aren’t people supposed to keep their dogs leashed?
A: Connecticut has a lot of laws aimed at controlling dogs and while the general statutes do not require dogs to be leashed at all times, they are not allowed to roam on someone else’s land or public roads. Depending on where you live, your town might have a leash law. First, let’s talk about liability. Your neighbor is responsible for any damage to your property as well as for the injury to your wife and mother. Their damages will include reimbursement for out-of-pocket medical expenses, lost wages if applicable, as well as pain and suffering. If the bite resulted in a scar or nerve damage, the amount of damages will be increased proportionally.
Hopefully, you reported the bite to your town animal control officer, who must immediately investigate the attack. At the very minimum, the dog will be quarantined for 14 days after which time the animal control officer may order that the dog is restrained or euthanized.