My dog bit another dog @ a dog park. What are my rights?

My dog had a few scratches; the other dog had two small deeper cuts that may have needed a few stitches (nothing life threatening). I thought I should be responsible for the vet bills, but friends are saying otherwise. The vet is not able to release the patients info and the owners are not contacting me. I put $250 on my credit card, however I told the vet I would not pay for the remainder of the bill unless I had a record of what procedures I am paying for. What should I do?

Asked by Member 976800 on Mar 24th 2010 in Other Laws & Legislation
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privacy is a big thing. Only the owners can share that info with you. The vet would be breaking privacy laws if they did so.
You could be held for half of the bills in some states.
Keep your receipts for proof of payment.

Dieta answered on 3/24/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


The rights to privacy are upheld at vet clinics as well as all other places.

However you do have rights as well. You have the right to know the procedures you are paying for. What is to keep them from having all sorts of things done to their dog on your dime if you don't know what is being done. It's not like you are asking for the dogs health records. The owners need to work with you since you are taking responsibility.

If this turns into an issue, you can call Legal Aid. They will just give you some advice at little or no charge, and a course to follow.

This will show you are trying to be responsible for your dogs behavior, but the owners are refusing to allow you to know what you are paying for.

I wouldn't pay for anything until I was handed an itemized bill. So until the owners contact you, I woudn't shell out a dime, but I would consult legal advice for my own protection.

Good luck

Hector answered on 3/24/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


Well, first of all, I think that you ARE responsible for the vet bills, at least ethically and I'm glad to see that you are (trying) to step up and pay for the damage your dog inflicted. I think that's great!

Unfortunately, unless the owners of the dog come to you or the vet agrees to give you an itemized rundown of the charges, then I also agree with that you shouldn't pay.

It is very good of you to accept your responsibility in this, despite what your friends say.

But it is unreasonable to expect you to pay for stuff you don't have any way of verifying.

If you haven't already, simply ask the vet to explain to the owners of the other dog that you'll happily contribute to the bill for any procedures the dog may have had that day as a direct result of the bite. And that if they want you to do so, they can send you the itemized statement from the vet or have the vet release it to you.

If you get no response, consider it over.

Jack answered on 3/24/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 7 Report this answer


Jack has a great answer. I was involved in an incident at our local dog park last year, and while my own dogs were not involved, I ended up with broken skin on my wrist and hand, as I reached in to stop a mastiff puppy from killing a poodle puppy (yes, I know, I should not have jumped in the middle, but... it's hard not to intervene and help out in a scary situation like that!)

The poodle owner's dad kept angrily insisting that the mastiff owner pay for the pup's surgery, and (to try to defuse the situation) I called my trainer for her opinion. She has a lot of experience with this kind of thing, and she said,

"Dog owners enter a dog park at their own risk. If their dog is injured, they are legally obligated to care for their injured dog. If the other party (the owner of the dog that inflicted damage) offers to pay, that's great! But there is no legal obligation."

I would say that $250 should be enough to cover two wounds (unless they had to do surgery). Hope that helps!? Good luck!

Katie answered on 3/24/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


People think when they walk into a dogpark their "entering at your own risk" but there is ALWAYS exceptions to this rule.
"The assumption of risk doctrine will not be used against a responsible dog owner who goes to a dog park that is frequented by an irresponsible dog owner who fails to follow the rules of the dog park. The law states that every person can assume that others will abide by the law. Therefore, one does not assume the risk that another user of a dog park will violate the rules of the park. For that reason, courts will not permit this doctrine to be used as a shield for unreasonable or unlawful conduct." it also states, "Leash-optional parks are not zones of immunity for irresponsible dog owners and dangerous dogs."

♥ DEOGIE ♥ answered on 3/24/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


Good of you to step up to the plate. Jacks answer was good.
I stay away from dog parks. The diseases and infections that are spread are countless. Some of the owners at a dog park are irresponsible, uneducated and bored with life and looking for a confrontation.
I'm sure you have some nice open spaces a cars drive away or even a leash walk away. Just be sure you have complete recall control of your dog before even entertaining the idea of removing the leash.

Kayak answered on 3/25/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Our vet $ 40 just to walk in the door. For puncture wounds, you'll be paying to irrigate the wound, remove any decaying tissue, antibiotics, and depends on the type of stitch. Disolveables might cost more than the removeable kind. Dog may need an Elizabethan collar too. Was dog knocked out to stitch up or local used? That anesthesia will get you. The crap adds up.

Good for you for stepping up to do the right thing. I would want to know what I'm paying for. We had 3 dogs before my toddler was born. Two bulldogs jumped my bulldog at the park when I
was 7 mos. pregnant. My MIL fell over & skinned her knees, I was OK. Just an idiot for even going there. Now with a toddler, will not enter any more dog parks.

MACKENZIE answered on 6/21/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


As a trainer, I'm stepping in and saying that dogs NEED the dog park annually, every couple of months, and so on-- unless you can provide that kind of socialization with many dogs outside of it. Yes, there is a risk when entering the dog park, but if your dog is properly trained and you watch for the body language you can catch behavioral issues beforehand and save a lot of trouble.

There ARE many uneducated people at the dog park. There is a risk, but your dog needs to go again, even if it's just walking around on a leash with all the dogs. That socialization is critical and dogs can be very insecure without it.

I think it was very responsible of you to step up and try to pay for part of the bills. I don't know too much when it comes to how things work at the vet, but I do know that privacy is a big thing so most likely by trying you've done all you can.

Best of luck!

☼Annie☼ answered on 7/1/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


What was the total bill? Did it appear reasonable based on what you observed? You should have a pretty good feel for vet costs in your area. If your dog attacked another dog and injured it to the point of needing stitches it is your responsibility to pay. If it were simply a minor scuff up as the result of exuberant play - no harm-no foul.

Jackson answered on 3/10/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Stormy Von Schnauzer (RIP)

First of all,I don't think dog parks are safe for dogs. That is how bad diseases are passed around. You should never take your dog around where other dogs have defecated.

Which dog was aggresive? Thats the person who should have to pay the bill.

Stormy Von Schnauzer (RIP) answered on 4/8/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Stick with what you think... and either the owner will contact you because they're no longer getting a free ride, or you'll get out of paying it. No one can claim you've been unreasonable, and off the top, a judge would be likely to rule, "ya go to the dog park, ya take yer chances, pay for your own dog's vet bills." Dogs will be dogs. You're doing more than most people would, and if the owner won't call you back, well, I say the hell with it until they do. It's your right to know what you're paying for.

Vera answered on 10/17/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Don't pay any more unless you get the itemized bill. They'd have to sue you for the rest and I'm sure a judge would insist they hand over the bills before he made a decision. So it's in their best interest to go ahead and give you the bills if they want you to pay more.

I was attacked by a dog several years ago. The owner agreed to pay for my emergency room procedure and asked that I provide a copy of the bill.

I did. No problem.

Pokey answered on 10/17/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Firstly, never assume that a deep cut is not life threatening. If the cut punctured the abdominal cavity, there are serious concerns about internal damage and infection in the abdominal cavity (dogs teeth have a lot of bacteria on them).
Second, good for you for being willing to pay for the vet bills! A responsible pet owner will step up in these instances and do what is right. When you got your dog, you made an implicit agreement to be responsible for it, and the things that it does. Don't listen to those that tell you otherwise.
However, I agree that you shouldn't pay the bill until you see a copy of the bill. You're entitled to know what you're paying for. Once they give you the bill, pay up, and then learn from the mistake and get your dog in a training class. :)

Jackson answered on 4/19/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer