If I’m going out of town for a week and am considering leaving my 2 dogs with an unlicensed stay at home mom, can I be held responsible for any personal injury?

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If I’m going out of town for a week and am considering leaving my 2 dogs with an unlicensed stay at home mom, can I be held responsible for any personal injury?

My concern is that if something happens to her 7 month old during their stay that i will be held responsible. If she signs a waiver can I still be held responsible at all (worst case scenario; death of the child or any damages resulting from their being there)? Also, do I have any recourse should she harm them/ lose them during a walk?

Asked on November 27, 2012 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You could be liable if the dogs have a history of biting, of aggression, of not responding well to new people or situations, or of not liking or being too rough with children, since that in that case, you would be negligent (unreasonably careless) or possibly even grossly negligent (reckless) in leaving the dogs with this single mother. It is not likely that any waiver would help you if the children were injured--the mother cannot waive their rights to compensation in a case like that; and a waiver would not help you if the mother were injured, if the situation were such that leaving the dogs with her were considered to be reckless (people cannot absolve themselves of their liability for gross negligence). Also, if a visitor to her home is injured, then a waiver would not help, since presumably, that visitor would not have signed it.

In terms of recourse if the dogs are harmed or lost--you could have her sign something saying she will compensate you for the loss of or injury to a dog. If she has limited assets or income, that may not help you--regardless of her legal liability, if she doesn't have money, you will not be paid.

You are likely better off boarding the dogs at a professional kennel.


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