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Hi! I'm Heather. I've been a practicing attorney for the last 15 years, and I'd be happy to assist you for informational and educational purposes.
If you have 10-12 witnesses who will attest that you did not do the damages, that is great. Also, do you know if you noted the existing damage in your rental contract you signed upon move-in. You might see if you can find any photos taken at move in, and compare with photos at move out (or as close to those times as you can find). You also have the right to cross examine the landlord and have him admit the prior tenant had a dog, have him show that rental contract, and have him admit that he did not replace carpeting after prior tenant moved out.
Let me know if that helps. If you have followup, please let me know.
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