My sister has a dog who attached my cat and bit my cat 4 inches across and deep into the muscle. My sister thinks I'm responsible and I don't want to take her to court, but the vet bill was $1,139. Now I have to take the cat back to the vet because somehow the stitches opened up and I'll probably have to pay around $300. What should I do in a situation like this? They always say not to sue family, but at this point I shouldn't be putting all my money towards something that could have been prevented. The dog has a history of being very possessive over toys and bones and I've told my sister many times to take the toys away, but she hasn't and still won't. What steps should I take to have my sister to pay the vet bills?
I hope your cat is doing much better and that you can resolve this family matter without litigation. While there is California law which provides that a dog’s “owner” is strictly liable if his or her dog bites a person whether or not the dog’s “owner” knew of the dog’s dangerous propensities, this law does not apply when a dog bites another animal. However, some local laws do apply to injuries caused by a dog to other animals so I suggest that you check with your local town/village officials. Courts may also consider whether one or more parties were negligent in the care and handling of their animals and whether such negligence resulted in harm. However, a court could find that a cat’s “owner” who allowed his or her cat to be kept with a dog who he or she knew was very possessive over toys and bones assumed the risk of injury to the cat (and, therefore, is responsible for paying for the cat’s veterinary expenses).
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