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Thank you for your question. You said that your friend claims that your younger dog attacked her Sheltie puppy. Was the Sheltie puppy actually injured? If so, what were the extent of the injuries?
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She said my dog scratched up his face pretty bad. Another lady I knew the same thing happened to her Sheltie puppy by the older Sheltie. She said they were calling him Scarface for a while (lovingly) but he healed up and they are best buds now. I'm thinking this is the same.
Thank you for that information. Have you seen the injuries?
Nope. When I asked to pick up my dogs she would not allow me to. She said she was on her way to work and got off at two in the morning. I said I would be there and she said no cause she was going to her Grandmother's where she baby was and was not gonna drive to her house at three in the morninf. She lives with her Mother and said her Mother would not be home either and I could pick them up in three days as planned.
Does your younger dog have any history of acting in that sort of manner, or is there anything else in the younger dog's background that would lead you to anticipate that this was more likely than average to happen?
He is two and I think he got excited with the females there. The story I told you about the other lady - the dog was showing his dominance. My dog is a therapy dog, very sweet and well mannered. He has been trained by me as well as my older Sheltie
Did you agree to compensate your friend for taking care of your dogs during your business trip?
No. I asked her if she wanted to be paid and she said, "No, what's one more to the pack". I am just concerned if I will be responsible for vet bills and am I responsible if her Pom turns up PG by my dog?
I understand. Let's discuss two aspects of the situation. First, the law with regard to injury to property (Shelties are beautiful animals, but they are considered property under the law, just like a table or chair is considered property). Second, let's discuss the laws of evidence.
Then I was wondering who is watching all the dogs if no one is home at night? My dogs are inside dogs and she said they were outside.
I should start by saying that because the nuances of every situation are different, this information should not be construed as complete or advice without consulting in person with counsel. That said, to have liability, there must be a breach of a duty that foreseeably causes damages. You said that there were damages, and that those damages were (possibly) the result of your animal attacking your friend's animal, but was there a duty? Was there a breach of the duty? If a dog owner knows her animal to be dangerous or prone to attack another person's animal, there is certainly a duty to warn the other person. But if there is no particular reason to believe that there is a special risk of attack, there would ordinarily be no duty. You weren't present. You weren't in control of your animal. In fact, you surrendered control to your friend, so if there was anyone who had a duty to maintain control of your animal, it would most likely be your friend. In fact, if your animal attacked her neighbor's animal instead, your friend would arguably be responsible to her neighbor. So I am unclear what duty she would claim you breached that caused her damages.
But let's hypothetically say that you somehow had a duty to control your animal while it was in her care, or that you should have foreseen this happening, there's also a legal concept called the assumption of the risk. It is exactly what it sounds like--if you assume a risk, you can't cry foul when negative consequences arise. If you lie down on train tracks and get run over, you can't sue the train company for your injuries because you assumed the risk of the injuries that were incurred.
But let's still pretend that there was a breached duty, and let's pretend that your friend had no way of knowing that this would have occurred (even though anyone who has owned a dog should probably know better). The person claiming damages (the plaintiff) carries the burden of proof. How does she prove that it wasn't her dogs that instigated the attack? I won't even go into the mounting question because, as they say, it takes two to tango.
So in short, it would normally be a terrible case to try to prosecute. Every situation is different, so I still have to encourage you to go over any details with counsel in person, but it's pretty difficult to see a situation where she would have a case based on the information provided.
She hasn't said yet if I would have to pay. I am just asking questions. She said she was gonna take her dog to the vet tomorrow. I told her she as a trainer (trains Service Animals) should have known to ask me up front if my dogs were nuertered. She has had my older Sheltie for six weeks training him to be a Service Dog. I have taught my dogs over 17 commands. They are very well behaved. She said dogs learn differently. She said my dog is ready. After she told me it took six months to train other dogs, I concluded I did all all the training and she is just certifying him. Now she said because she thought he was nuertered and he's not, she will not allow me to have the papers which I paid $150.00. Then she said she could not afford to pay for the rest of his paperwork now anyway.
I understand--you're just wanting to get an idea of the possible outcomes. That is perfectly rational, and it's wise. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes.
Yes, I thought the $48 is high, but those questions are weighing heavy on my mind. Also, I thought you were all real lawyers and I was getting good legal advice. If I still need to seek the advice of a lawyer, how are your answers gonna help me?
Well, I'm a licensed attorney, so I'm as real a lawyer as they get.
Since you asked, please allow me to explain my recommendation to discuss this in person---
Ok, but I thought you said earlier I still needed to seek counsel?
For any given case, it might not be necessary. With a situation like yours, it appears very open and shut. You have given me absolutely no reason to believe that you have any civil vulnerability whatsoever. However, this medium of communication tends to be a bit imprecise and, in my experience, customers are more likely to leave out important details online. For example, perhaps you signed an agreement that had a liquidated damages clause, agreeing that if her dogs were injured then you would pay the vet bills plus $500 regardless of fault. I haven't met you in person and there's always the chance that you, a stranger to me, might not think that a detail like that is important.Is it likely that you left out an important detail? I have no special reason to believe that you have. But we attorneys are a cautious bunch, and it is important to me that I am not accused of giving bad advice because, unbeknownst to me, it was based on incomplete information.
So I can say that, based on the information presented, the answer to your question is complete and correct. However, I recommend an in-person consult if you need assurance that all relevant information has been considered.
Does that make sense?
I sold a puppy to her for $550. She gave me $400 and agreed to train my dog and the other $150.00 was to pay for the vest, ID cards a, and certification. She said my dog was ready but all she could give me the vest cause she didn't have the money to get the other stuff. When I first left my dog I was gonna get him back cause she said I could not bring him home even for a few days cause it would break her his training. She gets $800 from the State to train dogs and I think if I brought him home and I didn't return him she wouldn't have gotten her money from the State. Maybe she will hit me up to pay half of the vet bills and if I don't she won't certify my dog. Oh yeah, she said since now she knows my dog is not nuertered will I lose my $150. No, we did not sign a promissary note. She willingly took them in. I should have known better cause I like to watch lawyer shows.
Well, you can't really kick yourself too hard. It's always best to reduce agreements to writing, but she's your friend and this isn't a million dollar transaction.
I need to know if she can sue me if my older Sheltie got her Pom PG? I am very tired Brandon and I still haven't packed for my trip. I hope we can close this up soon.
You have given me no reason to believe that she could successfully sue you for getting her animal pregnant. She was in control of both animals at the time of any insemination.
OK. Guess I feel better about it although I need to know one more thing, can she not reimburse me the $150 cause she failed to tell me what it took to be a Service Dog? I mean can she withhold the monies from me since my dog will not get his papers?
I am not ready to nuerter either of my dogs.
We earlier discussed the rule of law and the rules of evidence. You will recall that I said that the person seeking a judgment of damages, the plaintiff, carries the burden of proof. This is where that burden might work against you instead of in your favor. You say that you had this agreement and that withholding the $150 without giving your dog his papers would breach that agreement, but since there is no written record of the agreement how would you prove the terms of the agreement? If she acknowledged everything that happened in small claims court, then the court could adjudicate in your favor, but if she lied and said that the full price agreed upon for the puppy was $400, it is not clear to me how you would prove the remainder.
So I have to be straightforward and tell you that I wouldn't be optimistic--the facts may be on your side, but the evidence may be lacking.
We all hope that people are honest, but when people get emotional, they tend to rationalize some pretty bad behaviors, including lying to the court.
oh yeah, when I sold the puppy she signed for $150 for training and paid the $400 in two payments of $200 each.
Ok, so there is a written acknowledgement that she would pay $550 in total--$400 cash, and training valued at $150?
I'm glad that you mentioned that. It is also why I have my disclaimer about discussing these things in person--details like this are easier to miss if not in person. If there is a written acknowledgement of the value, that can only make things easier for your case if you decided to take her to court.
How to proceed would be up to you, but small claims is the fastest, easiest, least expensive way to settle disputes under $10,000.
Yes. I hope it does not come to that. Well Brandon I was beginning to wonder if I would get answers to soothe my mind and I can say I have. Thank you for talking to me. Too bad I didn't know about the $48 per month up front. I will have to wait till later.
If you signed up for the monthly subscription, you can cancel that at any time.
No I had to pay up front for my answer BEFORE they talked about the subscription. Anyway signing off. REALLY tired now. LOL Thank you for your time.
It was my pleasure. Have a good night's rest.