Is my neighbor required to pay for my cat’s veterinary bill?

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Is my neighbor required to pay for my cat’s veterinary bill?

About 2 weeks ago, I was driving home at night but coming up to my house, I see my neighbor walking out of my driveway. Right after my neighbor, is his dog running out of my yard and was holding onto my cat in his mouth. I got out of my car to save my cat and managed to scare the dog away. Thankfully I wasn’t bit by their dog but my cat inadvertently bit me. The neighbor watched me as I fought the dog off and went back inside the house when their dog returned. I found out that the owner of the dog is another person within that household.

After returning from the hospital because of the infectious cat bite, my

mom told me she took our cat to the vet to be treated and animal control

only told my neighbor to quarantine their dog for a week. I was not able to

talk to the animal control but I wanted to know if the owner is liable to pay

for my cat’s vet bill?

Asked on March 21, 2017 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

He is not liable, based on what you write: his dog may have gotten into your yard, but your cat was also evidently out--i.e. neither of you were controlling your animals. Either you were both at fault (your fault then undercuttng or canceling out his) or, if it was reasonable for you to both let your animals out, neither of you were at fault; in either event, since it's evidently not the case that he solely was at fault (was negligent, or *unreasonably* careless), he would not be liable.

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