Should a dog owner reimburse adogsitter fora vet bill, ifthe dog was injured and died as a result of the sitter’snegligence?

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Should a dog owner reimburse adogsitter fora vet bill, ifthe dog was injured and died as a result of the sitter’snegligence?

Dog owner out of town, left dogs in home. Caretaker was to walk dogs on leash 2x per day. Caretaker instead took dogs to her own house, tied the 2 big dogs with rope to a lawn chair and went inside. Bigger dog broke loose, ran toward owner’s house across busy road, was killed. Caretaker took dog to animal hospital, let vet try to save dog. Dog died. Caretaker paid big vet bill. Wants to be reimbursed.

Asked on July 14, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

Stan Helinski / McKinley Law Group

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As is always the answer, it depends. The vet's claim against you is contractual in nature--he/she agrees to provide a service, you agree to pay for it. If your position is that the service was not provided, then the vet breached first.  However, if the service was provide but was provided negligently, you would likely be responsible to pay, but you'll have a negligence claim against the vet.  Hope that answers your question. 

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Your question as written really is a moral question to be answered by you as the owner of the deceased dog and the caretaker who allegedly did not take adequate care of the animal with no specific answer.

The big question is how did the bigger dog break lose from the lawn chair? Was the rope/chain not adequate? If not adequate, who gave the rope/chain to the caretaker to use for the dogs.

Did the caretaker admit to not taking care of the bigger dog in a reasonable manner? If so, then the caretaker should not be not be paid for the work he/she did with the animal that dies and possibly should be responsible for the veterinarian bill.

Is the caretaker a friend of yours? If so, the animals death should not be something to lose a friendship over. It does not appear that the caretaker purposefully did not take care of the animal.


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