Police cite owner of dog who attacked neighbor’s dog; local attorney explains pet owners’ legal rights

Local News

HENDERSON, Nev. (KLAS) — Henderson Police cited the owner of a dog seen on video attacking another dog that lived next door. According to police, 54-year-old Nick Barassai violated the mandatory spay and neuter ordinance and failed to keep his two dogs on his property securely.

One of Barassai’s dogs, as female American Bulldog, was impounded Monday into the Henderson Animal Care and Control Facility after a camera recorded her mauling the Belgian Shepherd. The attack happened over the weekend at a home in Henderson near Warm Springs and Lake Mead Parkway.

Henderson Police say a portion of the investigation falls under the vicious animals’ code.

8 News NOW Cristen Drummond spoke with an attorney Tuesday about the legal rights of pet owners in a situation like this.

“This has to be a wake-up call for dog owners,” said Nancy Bernstein, an attorney at Richard Harris Law Firm.

Legal experts call the incident a dog on dog attack.

“It would be a property damage claim,” Bernstein said.

For the record, Bernstein does not represent either party involved in the case. When it comes to the property damage claim, Bernstein says the owners of a dog who was hurt or killed can seek reimbursement for vet bills. But that’s about it because it’s not considered a personal injury case.

Reporter Cristen Drummond: “So they can’t claim any emotional distress?”
Bernstein: “No, the laws aren’t up-to-date like that.”

When it comes to sharing as fence, Bernstein said it only takes weakness in one panel for something like this to happen, so she advises checking it regularly for damage.

“Hopefully your neighbor would want to pay for it. If not, then really you should pay for it and make sure your dog is safe from another dog,” Bernstein said.

Wayne Murphy says he takes precautions to make sure his three dogs are secure.

“I have a chain-link fence that I check everyday,” Murphy. “If your fence is deteriorating, you should take care of it.”

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