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My in laws want us to pay for the medical expenses FIL incurred because our dog bit him and I am refusing EDIT

Posted by Anonymous   + Show Post

This is Gretta, she is part lab, pit and Austrailian Shepard

Why, because I TOLD FIL not to pick up the baby. The dog, Gretta, who is very well trained has taken it upon herself to be my 2 month olds personal bodyguard. She is fine with me, DH and anyone she knows picking up the baby but if it's someone she doesn't know, she doesn't  like it, she thinks they are trying to hurt the baby.

If I put the baby in his seat, she goes and sits right next to him, if he takes a nap, she goes and lays next to his bassinet. She has NEVER been aggressive with the baby or anyone, she is sweet as she can be and very well trained. She is 5 years old and I have had her since she was 8 weeks old.

Now Gretta doesn't know FIL because MIL is allergic to dogs so anytime they come over, we put her in our bedroom (Gretta, not MIL). Yesterday, FIL came over without MIL (MIL was at work) to see the baby. I offered FIL a drink, he asked for a tea and I went to get it. Before I left the room, the baby was sleeping in his seat, I told FIL just go ahead and sit down, I'll get the baby for you in a second, Gretta doesn't like it when people she doesn't know go for the baby. Gretta growled, I heard her from the kitchen so I ran out and said "no, don't do it she will bite" He said, "I'll be fine" and he wasn't, he got too close, didn't heed the growling and she bit him. He needed 4 stitches on his hand. The only reason it wasn't worse was because I yelled "heel" to Gretta and she stopped right away.

DH was home during the whole thing, in our room taking a nap, he heard Gretta growl and came running, knowing something was wrong.

At first FIL said he was calling animal control and going to have her put down. Animal control contacted us and said that because she did growl first and he was warned about he trigger behavior (going for the baby) they aren't going to do anything to the dog. Nor can he sue us as he also threatened.

FIL's medical insurance has a $500 co pay for an ER visit and he wants us to pay for it. HELL NO, he was told not to and he did it anyway, he can pay for it himself.

For those saying he could sue because it's my dog, in my state at least, you are wrong. The person from animal control told me, and I confirmed it with an attorney, that because I warned FIL not to go near the baby with the dog there, him doing so was at his own risk. He can't turn around and sue over it (and what kind of person threatens to sue their son and DDIL anyway? but he did)

Posted by Anonymous on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:04 PM
Replies (51-60):
by Ruby Member on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Quoting le.sigh.333:

he wouldn't in new york. he was warned. it still happened. it's like touching a stove when the sign says "caution, hot"

There's no sign here.  He was verbally warned not to pick up the baby....NOT that the dog was aggressive.  Since everytime he'd been there before, there's no reasonable expectation that he knew what the dog was reacting to or how she would react. 

The OP is being unreasonable.  She did not take proper precautions to protect her dog or her guest. 

by Bronze Member on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM

No you shouldn't pay anything.  He was warned more then once not to touch the baby.  It is his own stupid fault he got bit.

by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM

I did my part to keep my visitor safe by telling him not to go near the baby, I would get the baby (who was asleep anyway). The dog isn't dangerous, she was protecting the baby and he wouldn't have gotten bit if he had listened. Also, see my post, I confirmed with an attorney that because he was warned, in my state at least, he can't sue me for anything.

Quoting Anonymous:

I disagree. You knew your dog didn't like visitors so you had an obligation to keep your visitors safe from your dog.

And yes, your FIL can sue you and will most likely win a judgement because you didn't control a dog you knew was dangerous.  The courts don't look at how warm and fuzzy your dog is because he was protecting your baby. They will only look at how a person was injured by an animal that was known to be dangerous.

by *Claire-Bear* on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM
3 moms liked this

As a pet owner you are responsible for anyone's safety that enters your home. Period. The dog should have been removed from the situation as you knew how she was going to react. You don't leave a dog with someone the dog does not know. It is negligent on your part. She is protective of the baby and should have been crated or put in another room when you left the room. 


" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phillipians 4:13 

by ☆Mrs.Winchester☆ on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM
He should have listened. He wouldnt be allowed over anymore if it were me. I did like how you clarified that you put the dog away, not your mil. Lol
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:27 PM

He was very clearly warned by both you and Greta. He chose not to heed that warning so now it's on him. It sucks that he was bit, but your dog did exactly what she was supposed to do in this case.

We have a lab and a pit and if you mess with me or my children you can expect to get bit in my house. We warn everyone that steps foot in my home that rough-housing can trigger the dogs and also have a beware of dogs sign on our front gate, and thankfully everyone has listened. I love that my dogs are protective....that's half the reason we have them!

by Silver Member on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:28 PM

How does your DH feel about it? Your refusal to pay--right, wrong, or indifferent--could cause a rift between your family and your in-laws. You may not care about that, but does your husband? They are his parents after all. Sometimes "the principle of the thing" just isn't worth it.

Not trying to be snarky.

by on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:28 PM
I agree. It's like going into someone else's back yard with a big "beware of dog sign", the dog growls as the person climbs the fence, then that person is shocked he got bit. The dog wasn't aggressive with people in the house, only when a person went for the baby. And you warned him.

Quoting Anonymous:

No, my dog is well behaved and shouldn't have to be locked away in MY home because FIL can't do as I requested when it comes to my baby. My dog lives here, he doesn't.

Quoting lilyismyheart:

People with dogs that growl and/or bite should keep them locked away when having company over. Show up unannounced? Still immediately put said dog away. Not that hard. Our dog is a bundle of sweetness, but she tends to get up in the lap of company so we keep her put away when we have someone over. 

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by on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:28 PM
1 mom liked this

It really doesn't matter.  It is your dog.  In order for you not to be liable you would have had to have taken precautions such as locking the dog up or crating the dog.  If  FIL would have let the dog out of a crate or let it out of a room then you would have a leg to stand on.   But otherwise it does not matter why your dog bites are liable.   Just turn it in on your homeowners.  You don't have an agressive breed dog so they will cover it.

Quoting Anonymous:

She hasn't, ever. In fact, before the baby I had only even heard her growl a handful of times. FIL was the only one stupid enough not to listen to me when I said she is very protective of the baby, let me get the baby for you.

Quoting Kokoscold:

by spitfire_bobbie on Feb. 15, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Not everywhere. In NC the rule is as follows...

North Carolina Dog Bite Law

North Carolina is known as a "one-free-bite" state. This means that if your attack was the dog's first, the owner basically gets a free pass. The narrow exception is if the dog was more than six months old and left intentionally loose to run "at large" at night.

If a dog has previously bitten someone or has otherwise qualified for labeling by local animal control officials as a "potentially dangerous" dog, then you, as a dog bite victim in North Carolina, may have a better shot at recovering your medical and dog bite-related costs. A dog can be labeled potentially dangerous if he or she:

  • Has terrorized a person while off the owner''s property
  • Has killed or seriously injured another animal while on the owner''s property
  • Has bitten a person,resulting in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring plastic surgery or hospitalization

A dog owner is subject to potential misdemeanor fines if his or her dog has been declared potentially dangerous and causes injuries requiring medical treatment in excess of $100.

Quoting just_hc:

You are legally liable.   Sorry, he will win if he sues you.    You can simply turn this in as a homeowners claim and they will pay his expenses.   

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