A few months ago, as my wife was walking a foster dog we were taking care of (the owner is her brother) up the stairs to our apartment on a leash, a cat charged down the stairs and attacked the dog's face. The dog defended itself and clamped down on the cat. My wife then put her hands in to try to separate the two animals, when the cat bit and scratched her hand to the point of needing stitches and seeing a hand surgeon for consultation. Long story short, we incurred roughly $1,000 in total bills for taking the dog to the Vet and for my wife's hand. The owner of the cat lets the cat roam freely outside at all times (cat survived with minor injuries). The cat owner is also refusing to pay any bills and in fact blames the dog. What do you recommend?
Small Claims Court is a user friendly venue for relatively small monetary disputes. Courts will consider the evidence and determine if the cat’s “owner” was negligent and should be responsible for injuries caused by the cat. While, in my opinion, leaving a cat unattended outside is not a wise or safe thing to do, one cannot assume that a court would necessarily determine that doing so constitutes negligence. Don’t be surprised if the cat’s “owner” sues or countersues for his/her vet bills alleging that the dog attacked the cat (which is the more common scenario) and that any injuries the cat caused was to defend himself/herself. I hope all of the animals and people are doing well!
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