Monday, November 30, 2009

Court Report

After a terrifying attack on her dog, Chantel, by a loose Pit Bull on July 5; after dropping her Small Claims Court case when the Pit's owner promised to pay; after re-instating her Small Claims Court case when the Pit's owner did not pay, Kathi finally got her day in court on November 20.

The attacking dog's owner agreed to make monthly payments until Chantel's veterinarian's bill is paid. But having been there, done that, I must add that Small Claims Court does not give the plaintiff any court costs. So, filing fees and fees for subpoena service are out of pocket. And since Kathi was forced to pay for subpoena service a second time, she will net significantly less than what she paid the vet to treat Chantel.

All the same, in spite of the bother and frustrations, it is important that owners of dogs who are attacked by loose dogs pursue appropriate legal remedies. In my opinion, owners of loose dogs who attack leashed dogs should receive significant fines and be required to attend Responsible Dog Ownership Classes. But, until that day arrives--at least in North San Diego County--the only deterrent to repeat offenses is for the owner of the injured dog to take legal action.

Thank you, Kathi, for hanging in there. You have done all you can to make your neighborhood a safer place for dogs on leash.

Correction: Although a plaintiff may not include filing and subpoena service charges in their claim, if awarded judgment, filing and subpoena service charges will be awarded in addition to the claim. However, since Kathi agreed to mediation, she not only will not be receiving the full amount of Chantal's vet bill, she also will not be reimbursed for the fees she has paid.

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