Neighbors Dog Destroying Our Fence Are They Liable for Helping Replace It?

Updated on July 16, 2012
T.H. asks from Bedminster, NJ
16 answers

New neighbors in back of us took down the fence on their side of our back yard (there were actually two fences,back to back).
Now their big dog is jumping at, digging at, and knocking down our old,but serviceable fence back there, trying to get at our little dogs, and us!
Yesterday she actually pushed out a whole board and I had to rush down and try to repair it enough to keep her out of our yard.
Because of this dog, it looks like I will have to replace the fence, which,though old would be fine for our little dogs. It just cannot hold up to this big destructive idiot.
Who is liable for the cost of this fence? Is it half /half? Do they have any liability? Or am I just scre****? Thank you

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So What Happened?

Wow! Thank you all so much for sharing your knowledge, thoughts and ideas on how to handle this issue.

So, I wrote a letter - simple, not alot of detail, and not aggressive, asking for the opportunity for all of us to sit down and discuss the issue, and what needs to be done before we have a serious problem of their dog actually making it into our yard, and hurting either one of our dogs, or even us.

I have started calling to get estimates on the cost to replace the fence, since, ultimately, my first concern is the safety of my dogs, and my family. While I no longer have small children, I, myself, am disabled and would not be able to defend myself as I might have in the past.

I will let you all know the final outcome, as it unfolds. Thank you, again.....

More Answers


answers from Boston on

I would call the town's animal control officer and ask for advice. That gets it on record that this dog is going after your dogs and taking down your fence in the process. He/she will pay a visit to them and see if something can be done amicably.

I don't see why any of the expense should be yours. Your fence is on your property, and therefore so is their dog.

They can put up their own fence again, put in an electric fence & train the dog, or put the dog on a run. Lots of choices. But you paying for a new fence that someone else is destroying is not on the list.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Legally, not sure. I'd not jump to that immediately though. I'd simply have a talk with them.
Bruiser has really done a number on the fence since you took down the other fence. as a result, we need to replace the fence. How do you think we should handle this since it is serving both of our needs of keeping our dogs in their respective yards?

Then see what they say.

I bet they took down their fence because this big ole dog ripped it up too. . .

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

they don't HAVE to keep a fence up.
but they're probably legally required to fix YOUR fence that their dog is destroying.
i find their financial liability for less troubling than the fact that a huge dog is trying to get at you and your family.
have you discussed this with the neighbors yet? that would be my first stop.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Call your homeowners insurance company and ask them.. They will know the law.

Wonder why they tore their side down?



4 moms found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

Their dog is destroying your property, I would say they are definitely liable. I would be very concerned that this dog is trying to destroy your fence to get in your yard. They need to take responsibility for their animal!

edited* If my dog was in the process of destroying someone's fence, I would be mortified! I would apologize to my neighbor, find a way to make amends and get my dog some training. I find your neighbors to be sadly lacking in common courtesy. So sorry you have to deal with this!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

If your fence in all over on your side of the property line (and it sounds like it would be the way the fences were back to back), then her animal is damaging your property and she should be paying something, but how much is debatable.
She probably thought it would be cheaper just to let your fence keep her dog in her yard but she should have replaced her own fence.
She has to keep her animal on her own property and if you want to be sure of the safety of your dogs, you will be watching them when they are in your yard.
You might want to get a book and read it over:

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

You need to go buy some cinder blocks and put them along the wall/fence. This will help the fence to be more solid.

I would also call animal control and find out if there is anything they can do about vicious animals. They could come through the fence and hurt you or your family at any time.

I would also go talk to the neighbors about why they took the fence down, perhaps it was a hazard and they don't quite get that your family is at risk.

In my case I would tell them I have guns and will shoot their dog if it makes it onto my property.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Document what's happening and video record the dog in action. I would check with your homeowner's insurance representative and animal control officers.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

At the most, I think they would be liable for half (50%)of just the stretch of fence that borders their property...not all 4 sides, ya know what I mean?

Best bet would be to catch them while they are out with their dog and talk to them about the damage their dog is doing and see what they say?

Best case scenario, the big dog will come try to 'get at you' and you can explain that him/her doing that is causing maybe take your little dogs out with you, Ha!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would ASAP discuss with the neighbor the issue about the fence being knocked down by their dog and your concern that their dog will get loose. Dogs are very unpredictable and owners always underestimate how aggressive their dog is to others. Then again, the neighbor has a responsibility to make sure that their dog is secured and can't leave their property. I would just express that you are really concerned and want to do all that you can to make sure that nothing happens. If you need to replace fence or secure it otherwise, do that. Ask if they plan on putting one back up. At least it shows that you made every effort to keep CUJO out your case something happens. Also, I would take pictures of their dogs activity in your yard and the fencing situation. You never know when that will come in handy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

The owner's have a responsibility to make sure that their pet stays in their yard. It's on them to fix the situation. They should pay for any damage their pet caused to your property.

Is there an HOA that can be a go between?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

All you. We had a bit of dispute with a neighbor. I learned a lot about fences. Your property your rights. That includes expense.

If the fence wasn't old you would have a damage claim but as old as it is....

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Little Rock on

If you can prove they are causing harm to your property in any way, you should talk with them about it and see if you can work it out with them. Maybe you can negotiate something with them. Any other option is going to cost you more money.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I believe you neighbor is liable for all of it. Get three estimates in writing, choose which one you like, make a copy & mail it to her letting her know she has 3o days (reasonable amount of time) to fix your fence using this contractor. Make sure it is certified mail, keep the receipt & make sure you give it 3 days for her to get it in the mail 33 days total.
You could probably get a free consultation with a lawyer if you try. Have your questions already written out, they will usually do the interview by phone. Make sure to get pictures & proof as much as possible.
It wouldn't hurt to print out some of your state statues & tell her the reason she has to fix your fence in a separate letter.



answers from Portland on

I would make a suggestion to the neighbor that you need the fence as much for your animals as for their animals and see if they will go in for it 1/2 1/2.




answers from Honolulu on

Take PHOTOS... of that dog doing that, and of your damaged fence.
Then you have, documentation. And proof.

I would think that, yes, they are liable to pay for it.
Their dog, damaged your fence.

But now, you repaired it. So they may deny it.

Who knows why they took down their fence. I wonder if they are going to put up a new one. Or, just rely on your fence... to keep their dog in.

Next question: Should I Pay for the Fence?