If I bring my friend’s cats to a vet visit, am I legally responsible for the bill even if I make it clear that I am merely a sort of cat-taxi?

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If I bring my friend’s cats to a vet visit, am I legally responsible for the bill even if I make it clear that I am merely a sort of cat-taxi?

I brought a friend’s cats to their first vet visit. My friend intended to use a credit service but this vet doesn’t happen to take it. As my friend tried to figure out payment, I was brought to another room and told I couldn’t leave and that I faced arrest without payment. There were no other options discussed. Is this legal?

Asked on July 22, 2016 under Business Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

They were both right and wrong. 
They were wrong in that this would not be a criminal or police matter--it would have been a civil matter: the vet could have sued you. In the future, know that you could have left.
They were right in that the person who brings an animal to the vet is responsible to pay for it, even if that person is not the owner (e.g. the vet is not required to determine animal ownership and only bill the owner); you were the one who brought the animal in and asked for treatent. Therefore, you would have to pay. The best thing is to now simply ask your friend for reimbursement.


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