What is our legal obligation if our dog bit a vet tech?

UPDATED: Aug 24, 2011

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What is our legal obligation if our dog bit a vet tech?

Last visit my dog snapped at, but did not bite, vet tech. This time vet muzzled/sedated dog. X-rays needed. I offered to stay and monitor dog; was told to leave. When dog was groggy, tech tried to move her and was bitten on the hand. Vet tech went to hospital, now is taking 2 days off from work and vet is not answering my request for info on how employee is doing. Dog is a Tibetan Mastiff.

Asked on August 24, 2011 Oregon


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You probably are not liable at all. Liability depends on unreasonable careless, or negligence, or an intentional bad act. Assuming you did not "sic" your dog on the tech (so no intentional bad act), liability could only arise from negligence, or carelessness. It is difficult to see how leaving a dog in the care of a vet's office for a procedure is unreasonably careless--that's how animals are given medical treatment. Furthermore, people have difficulty recovering for the normal risks of the activities they voluntarily engage in--and a normal risk of havinig the job of vet tech is the chancd of being bitten or scratched. Finally, if the tech him/herself was careless--didn't handle the dog properly--his or her own negligence could undercut the right to recovery.

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