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To expect the dog owner to pay for damage?

76 replies

amynnixmum · 12/03/2007 17:37

My neighbours dog attacked my cat today and has hurt him. He was off the lead and they could not control him I don't know how badly hurt my cat is yet as the vet wasn't sure if his pain was due to shock and bruising or if he has some internal damage. I have to keep an eye on him today and take him back again first thing tomorrow for a checkup and possibly further treatment.

I went to see my neighbour when I got back from the vets and they knew it had attacked a acat and that it was mine but they hadn't told me. I wonder if they would have owned up at all if I hadn't seen it happen. He seemed embarrassed and said his wife would come to see me but she hasn't yet.

Does anyone know whether there are any laws about financial responsibility in cases like this? And even if they are not obliged in any legal sense am I unreasonable to expect them to at least pay 1/2 the vets fees? Any advice would be appreciated as obviously I have to get him treated poor cat but could really do without the extra expense right now.

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Iota · 12/03/2007 17:42

poor cat

morally they are responsible, not sure about the law

KathyMCMLXXII · 12/03/2007 17:52

Where did the attack happen? If it was not on their property then if they have a shred of decency I think they should pay the lot (no idea about the law though).

JustUsTwo · 12/03/2007 17:56

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Saturn74 · 12/03/2007 17:56

If it was not on their property, then they should pay half the fees, IMO.

Blandmum · 12/03/2007 17:59

Legally the owner of a dog is responsible for the actions of the dog. Dogs can be trained.

The owner of a car is not responsible for the actions of a cat, since cats cannot be trained (easily)

Warning I'm not a lawer. But I heard this on Radio 4 once, so it must be true

JustUsTwo · 12/03/2007 17:59

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Saturn74 · 12/03/2007 18:01

amynnixmum asked
"And even if they are not obliged in any legal sense am I unreasonable to expect them to at least pay 1/2 the vets fees?"
So my post was to say that I thought the dog owners should.

JustUsTwo · 12/03/2007 18:07

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

amynnixmum · 12/03/2007 18:10

If it was my dog I would offer to cover the whole cost as I would consider it my responsibility but i know they don't have much money so thought at least 1/2 would be ok. My mum and Dad paid for the vets bills when their dog attacked another dog.

Poor cat - the pain relief is obviously wearing off now as he is grumbling away to himself

Sadly we don't have insurance so the fees are going to be coming out of our pockets unless they pay something. I somehow doubt that they have insurance for their dog.

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wheresthevalium · 12/03/2007 18:28

Yes, legally they must pay for any damage done/injries sustained caused by their dog.

I am a paralegal and I do personal injury claims (not an ambulance chaser, promise). Our firm deals with PI claims for dog bites etc all the time, the owner is responsible for compensating the injured party/damaged property, I cannot see any reason why it should not apply in this situation too.

amynnixmum · 12/03/2007 18:30

Thanks wherethevalium.
Hopefully they'll offer and that'll make it much easier but she hasn't been round yet (although other neighbours have told me she knows and is upset) so I'm not holding my breath. I hate confrontation.

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Freckle · 12/03/2007 18:34

They may have 3rd party liability under their household insurance, even if they don't have specific pet insurance.

If the dog was out of control and not on their land, then they are responsible for any losses incurred by a third party.

amynnixmum · 12/03/2007 18:36

Apparently it ran out of their front door when the daughter left for school. The son ran out after it but couldn't catch it in time. When i saw them they were across the road on public land but I think the dog may have chased my cat off my front lawn as that is where he usually is at that time of day. He is a creature of habit.

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amynnixmum · 13/03/2007 09:47

Well surprise surprise no visit from the neighbour - not even a note through the door I'm hoping she was just too embarassed to come over yesterday and will come over today but somehow I doubt it. The bill so far is nearly £60 and he needs to go back after he finishes his antibiotics so that will be at least another £20 or so and he may need surgery on his back paws if they don't heal properly

Still at least he seems a bit better today which is good

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Iota · 13/03/2007 10:03

Hope your cat gets better soon and that the neighbour comes over to make amends today.

amynnixmum · 13/03/2007 10:13

Thanks Iota

He has just wolfed his breakfast down which is a good sign but poor cat isn't allowed out for a couple of days so he needs to use a litter tray which he hates.

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maggymay · 13/03/2007 12:41

I know from experiance that she is liable for your cats vet bills my ex had a dog that was forever getting out and when he left he left the dam thing with me while waiting for the rspca to come collect it the rotten git got out and attacked the cat over the road as I had custody of the dog( by defalult as he had left it behind not because I wanted it ) I was liable for the bills I was devestated about the poor wee cat and even with all that treatment the cat was old and died of shock.

amynnixmum · 13/03/2007 16:07

Thanks maggiemay - sorry your story had such a sad outcome.

She still hasn't been in contact so I am a bit pissed off. My sister says I should go round there and act as though I am doing them a favour by letting them know that my cat seems ok and how much the vets bills are so far. Sort of a do you want to pay me now for the bill so far or pay it all when the treatment is finished sort of thing.

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amynnixmum · 13/03/2007 16:07

sorry maggymay not maggiemay

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Caligula · 13/03/2007 16:10

It's not just an issue of the vets' fees imo, I'd let the police know. The owner's have no business allowing their dog off the lead, if they can't control him/ her.

It could be a child next time.

amynnixmum · 13/03/2007 16:13

When i spoke to my neighbours useless dh he said that the dog had run out of the door and that his son ran out after it but couldn't catch it in time. Another neighbour is concerned about it with her baby - apparently it walked through their backgate the other day and into their house where the baby was playing on the floor.

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Caligula · 13/03/2007 16:14

Good god.

They sound bloody irresponsible tbh. A dog escaping once is an accident. Twice, with a baby around, it's bloody careless.

bellabelly · 13/03/2007 18:00

amynixmum - i agree with your sister. You've given the woman plenty of time to swallow her embarrassment and come to apologise but she hasn't Think you need to be upfront about expecting the costs to be covered and let them know that it's £80 or whatever so far - do they want to pay in instalments etc etc.

Personally, I think your neighbour is just keepin her head down and hoping whole thing will go away. Thank god their dog didn't chase your cat into the road and under a car.

amynnixmum · 13/03/2007 18:42

hmmm - I know I need to go and see her but i really am crap at this sort of thing Maybe if I ring my mum.........

Just kidding but I was wondering about putting a note through the door.

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bellabelly · 13/03/2007 19:49

I know - I'm crap at this sort of thing too but I do reckon in the long run it'll be less cringemaking and awkward if you do this face to face. Just keep it light and non-confrontational - my GUESS is that they'll be fine about taking financial responsibility but, if they ARE awkward, at least you'll know you tried to handle it in an assertive but friendly way.

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