Dealing with neighbors who have aggressive dogs can quickly turn into a nightmare. I’ve unfortunately had the pleasure of dealing with neighbors who let their aggressive dogs roam around the neighborhood freely. After frantically researching how to deal with my neighbor’s aggressive dog, I decided to put this blog post together to hopefully help others and let you know what you can do to stay safe.
If you’re having issues with your neighbor’s dogs being aggressive, the first thing you should do is talk to your neighbors about it. If your neighbor is unwilling to do anything about it, you have the right to report them to the authorities.
Dogs are naturally territorial and will protect anything that belongs to them. However, some can be aggressive for different reasons and regardless, the owner should take responsibility. If you are scared of a neighbor’s dog, read on for tips on what you can do to prevent attacks and defend yourself should an attack ensue.
My Neighbor’s Dog Tries To Attack Me, What Should I Do?
No one wants to encounter an aggressive dog that’s ready to attack, especially if it’s your neighbor’s. You would think that a neighbor’s dog would be familiar with your scent and presence. However, there are dogs that don’t recognize any of that and are only focused on protecting their turf.
Aggression in dogs can develop due to many reasons and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what caused the behavior.If your neighbor’s dog tries to attack you or even threatens you, such as when neighbor dog charges fence, below are some suggestions on how you can respond to the situation:
- As previously mentioned, you can talk to your neighbor about the incident. Dog owners may not always realize that their dog is aggressive. Call their attention but talk to them in a calm manner.
- If you are in the neighborhood and you notice that your neighbor’s dog is loose, take photos or videos of the dog acting aggressively. Make sure you are in a safe place doing that. This should serve as evidence of your claims, should the situation escalate.
- If you have talked to your neighbor but you are certain nothing has been done to change the situation, just communicate with your neighbor the second time around. But this time, keep a record of your communication.
- If repeated talks with your neighbor didn’t result in any resolution, it’s time to call the local animal control. Report the situation and provide the evidence you’ve gathered to support your claims.
Can I Call The Cops On My Neighbor’s Dog?
Yes, you can and you should. I would call the cops if a neighbor’s dog charged me, especially if I have called out the neighbor’s attention about this and nothing has been done. By calling the cops or animal control, you are also doing the neighborhood a favor.
You might never know who the dog’s next victim is so it’s better to be vigilant and report the dog’s owner. It is an unfortunate situation and understandably, some people might be hesitant to report an animal. After all, in most cases, a dog’s behavior is a result of a lack of responsible ownership.
How To Report An Aggressive Dog
If you spot your neighbor’s dog behaving aggressively towards another person in your community, call the cops immediately. Most likely, that person will need medical attention depending on the severity of the attack.
While it is your right to report a dangerous dog, you should also be mindful enough not to report if the dog was only barking or if the situation wasn’t severe. You may also want to contact the local animal shelter or animal control department for a much quicker response.
What Is The Best Defense Against Aggressive Dogs
Now you know the possible actions you can take against a neighbor’s aggressive dog, it’s time to learn some basic defense tactics should you have an encounter with the dog. You can’t always expect a neighbor to reprimand their dog just because you talked to them about the aggressive behavior.
You might still be walking around the neighborhood and have a chance encounter with the said dog. You could be riding a bike or going for a jog and you see the dog loose without its owner in sight. In that case, are you certain you are prepared to deal with the hostile animal?
How Do You Scare An Aggressive Dog?
Is it even possible to scare an aggressive dog? You may not send the dog whimpering in fear, unless you hit it hard with a blunt object. But if that is clearly not an option for you, you can still ward off a hostile dog and prevent attacks.
Based on tips from experts, there are two ways to deal with an aggressive dog you encounter on the street:
- Stopping or warding off a dog attack
- Defending yourself during the attack
How Do You Stop A Dog Attack?
You may wonder if it’s possible to stop a dog attack from happening in the first place. The answer is yes – you can, but you need to muster the courage to do so. And the first rule is to not panic. It may be easier said than done when you’re not in the situation but you have to keep calm and don’t panic if you find yourself in danger with a dog.
They say dogs can somehow “sense fear” or rather, sense body motions and movements that indicate anxiety and fear. If they do, they’ll likely feel confident to attack you. If not, they’ll view you as a threat even more, and that’s even worse.
So before you run and scream, calm down and stay motionless. Do not lock eyes with the dog. In most cases, the dog will find you uninteresting and leave you alone.
More importantly, remember not to run away or make agitated movements. The dog will perceive you as a threat and with its instincts, it will chase you and try to catch you. If you’re on foot, you’ll most probably be outrun by the dog.
How Do You Defend Yourself During An Attack?
Since you know you have an aggressive dog in the community, it’s best to come prepared. It is recommended that you command the dog to back away with an assertive voice. You can do this if the dog pursues you despite your attempts to pacify its aggressive behavior.
If the situation escalates and fighting back against an aggressive dog is the only option, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Yell for help as loud as you can while you’re fighting the dog.
- Find any weapon you can use against the dog.
- Put up a hard fight because your life depends on it. Dog attacks can be fatal and you don’t want to be on the receiving end.
- Use defense tools such as pepper spray
What To Use Against An Attacking Dog?
There are different defense items to use when you know that there’s a dangerous dog in your area. One of them is pepper spray. This is true if you already find yourself wrestling with the dog. Make sure to invest in a good one, such as this Sabre Red Pepper Gel Spray.
Don’t forget to check out our article on whether it’s legally acceptable to use pepper spray on your neighbor’s dog, we go pretty in-depth on what you need to know.
Another item you can keep with you is an air horn. Air horns can be an effective tool to ask for help because of the loud sound it produces. It also comes in handy when repelling dogs and stopping attacks. A good recommendation is Sound Defense Dog Horn.
A dog whistle can also be a useful tool when you are scared of dogs attacking. It is often recommended by cyclists who have experienced far too many encounters with dogs that chase them. This serves as an alarm to signal distress. If you’re in need of a silent dog whistle, try Acme Silent Dog Whistle.
What Are My Rights If A Dog Attacks Me?
DISCLAIMER: We are not a law firm and the information below is not meant to substitute legal advice. It’s still best to consult an attorney.
Besides knowing what to do before and during an attack, you should also understand your legal rights as a dog attack victim. The legal actions will depend on the state you live in, the severity of the attack or injuries, or your decision to press charges.
We have mentioned the severity of attack as one of the factors to consider when taking legal action against a neighbor’s aggressive dog. This is because you have the option not to report the dog, especially if it was just a minor injury or if you believe that it was an isolated incident.
On the other hand, it’s a different story if you have serious injuries from a dog attack. Different states have different laws regarding dog bites, but generally, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the dog owner.
Automatically, the owner will be held liable for injuries or damages caused by the attack, provided that it was not provoked. If it was found out that the attack was, indeed, provoked, the owner may not be held liable for damages.
In addition, if you live in an apartment, your landlord may also be held responsible if you were bitten on your property. Consider this scenario: I was just staying in the apartment complex I live in and this aggressive dog on my property bit me. Besides the owner, I can also sue my landlord.
Depending on the state you live in, your landlord may be held liable for injuries caused by a tenant’s dog. That is, if there is proof that the landlord knew about the dog’s behavior and still allowed the tenant to stay in the apartment complex.
How Much Can You Sue For A Dog Attack?
Most dog-bite disputes are resolved with negotiations between the dog owner and the bite victim or with insurance. Rarely do they escalate to small claims court, but if they do, you can sue someone for up to $10,000.
It’s best to research your local law firm regarding compensation for dog bite victims. But generally, you will be paid for:
- seeking treatment for the bite injuries
- Emotional trauma
- income loss for missing out on work during your recovery
- Property damage (your clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, etc)
Conclusion: How To Deal With My Neighbor’s Aggressive Dog
Aggressive dog behavior can easily be a cause for disputes among neighbors. And just like any disputes, the first thing to do to handle the situation is to talk with your neighbor. When doing so, be diplomatic and avoid being mean.
If despite the talks the dog continues to be a threat to you and the community, the best thing to do is to report it to the authorities. You may call the cops or report to the animal control office. And as you wait for a response, make sure you are equipped with the knowledge on how to defend yourself from a dog attack.