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TxDogMom

My dog attacked by another dog at dog sitter

12 posts in this topic

I contracted with Rover.com to use one of their dog sitters (described by Rover as an independent contractor) to watch my 2 dogs during my week long vacation. The home has 2 adults, their 3 kids and their yellow lab, Sally. I was under the impression that only my dogs (along with the sitter's dog) were staying with them during the week I was to be gone. Turned out they had 6 dogs in total: Sally (dog sitter's dog), my two (Sprocket and Beau), Eeyore (13 year old blind, half deaf Basset hound), Buckley (boxer who attacked by dog Sprocket) and another dog who's name I don't know.

 

Dropped off my two on Friday night. Saturday night, Buckley attacked Sprocket. Sitters broke it up quickly and wrote it up as "a one-off type thing".  They saw no aggression, posturing, raised tail or other signs by my dog prior to Buckley's attack.  They decided to separate the dogs and kept Buckley in another part of the house using a baby gate. They did not call me about this attack and did not report it to Rover.com or animal control.

Sunday morning, Sprocket walked by the baby gate and Buckley "came through the gate like it wasn't there" (per sitters). He attacked Sprocket throat and latched on to his right ear. He bit a hole clean through the ear and made a long gash on the inside. The sitters say it took all of their strength to get Buckley off of Sprocket. They got Buckley outside. The wife called Rover.com demanding that Buckley be moved to a new home as she "feared for the lives and safety of her children". She described Buckley as unpredictable and unstable.  The husband took Sprocket to the vet. As I was in church, I had my ringer turned off and didn't get the messages until after service. I had to pay via the phone for the emergency vet bill ($330) and Buckley was rehomed to another Rover.com sitter. Animal services was not called.

Since then, Sprocket need 2 more vet visits as the site became infected and he developed a hot spot. My vet is trying to get the infection under control but it may leave lasting damage to his hearing; he will have scars on his ear. Current bills are around $1100 and still going up as his need for care increases.

 

Rover.com refuses to give me Buckley's owners name for "privacy" reasons. They say they are a "neutral party" and that I can't sue them. Their policy on dog attacks is to review each case individually and decide if they will let the dog continue to use the service.  They decide on a case by case basis to tell dog sitters if a dog wanting service has ever attacked anyone. They gave my info to Buckley's owner but he hasn't contacted me.

 

I am filing a report with Animal Control today.

 

Are the sitter's and Rover.com required to give up the attacking dog owner's information to Animal Control?

Am I entitled to get a copy of the animal control report?

Does the sitter have any liability here?

 What can I do to force him to at least pay the vet bills? Is small claims my only option?

The owner is training for a new job in Florida and plans to move. I want to make sure Buckley doesn't attack anyone or any other dog. Is that up to Animal Control? Can they impound him?

 

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2 hours ago, TxDogMom said:

Are the sitter's and Rover.com required to give up the attacking dog owner's information to Animal Control?

 

They don't HAVE TO give you anything until you sue them and demand it during discovery.

 

2 hours ago, TxDogMom said:

Am I entitled to get a copy of the animal control report?

 

That's something you'll have to as the animal control people.

 

2 hours ago, TxDogMom said:

Does the sitter have any liability here?

 

Possibly. Here's a site that explains Texas dog bite law:

 

https://dogbitelaw.com/texas/overview-of-texas-dog-bite-law

 

The first attack may have been enough to impute knowledge of the dog's danger.

 

2 hours ago, TxDogMom said:

What can I do to force him to at least pay the vet bills? Is small claims my only option?

 

Well, if you want money from somebody and they won't give it to you...

 

2 hours ago, TxDogMom said:

I want to make sure Buckley doesn't attack anyone or any other dog.

 

That's not anything you have control over.

 

All you can do is seek compensation for your own monetary damages.

 

2 hours ago, TxDogMom said:

Is that up to Animal Control? Can they impound him?

 

Again, that's something you'll have to ask the Animal Control people.

 

As for getting compensation, if I were in your place I would sue the sitter, rover.com and John Doe, Buckley's owner and attempt to get his ID during the lawsuit so you can amend your complaint.

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2 hours ago, TxDogMom said:

Rover.com is telling me I can't sue them per their terms of service. https://www.rover.com/tos/?ref=footer

 

OK, based on those terms, any lawsuit against Rover is likely to be dismissed quickly. Rover is apparently just a referral service and would likely have no knowledge of the background of any dog placed with a sitter.

 

2 hours ago, TxDogMom said:

Does that mean my only redress is the dog sitter?

 

That and, possibly, the dog owner if you can show that the owner new that the dog was dangerous before he/she placed the dog with the sitter.

 

2 hours ago, TxDogMom said:

As dogs are only considered "property" under the law, am I only entitled to get back the vet bills? 

 

Yes.

 

2 hours ago, TxDogMom said:

 Is this a small claims matter or would getting a lawyer be a better choice? 

 

Small claims.

 

You would pay more to a lawyer than your claim is worth and you wouldn't get those fees back.

 

 

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I decided to be nice and it may have bit me in the butt. I filed a claim with Rover.com to get the medical bills paid. They will pay all but a $250 deductible. I went this route as I liked the sitter and wanted to minimize the debt she'd have to pay.

 

After trying to contact her several times, she now says that I 'threatened' her with small claims court and Rover.com told her the deductible is mine to pay not hers. She says " I work with Rover and abide by their policies so the deductible is yours to pay."

 

So, if I do not accept the payment from Rover, can I sue the sitter in small claims for the vet bills, time off of work, mileage, court costs,

And I know you don't have a crystal ball but do I have a strong case against the sitter?  Should I go ahead and name Rover and "John Doe" (owner of the dog who attacked mine.) too?

 

Or in the end, would me eating the $250 be the cheapest choice?  Am I entitled to get the money I paid to have her watch my dog back given she let him be attacked twice?

 

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My point being I wasn't going to read it to you. God and I help those that help themselves.

 

That said, I see nothing in the listed agreement that says you can't sue if you don't take the amount they will pay. If you do take it you will have to sign a waiver that will stop you from suing for the deductible. 

 

Quote

(c)  Claim Settlement.  Rover may condition final payment of costs under the Rover Guarantee on execution of a Guarantee Settlement Agreement, including a release of claims against Rover or any other applicable party and an obligation to keep confidential the reimbursement amount and circumstances.  Where an approved claim under the Rover Guarantee involves the Covered Loss of a party other than the Requesting Party, Rover reserves the right (but has no obligation) to pay all or a portion of the approved amount to such third party.

 

Before you decide how to proceed take into consideration that Rover is going to pay. If you sue and win then the collection process is all on you.  What sort of assets do you think a dog nanny has sitting around?

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Dude, I'm an engineer and not a lawyer and wanted to be sure that what I understood from reading that TOS was right. Her only assets are her home, her car, her bank accounts.

 

So basically you're saying, small claims is not really worth anything because you can win but have no way of forcing them to pay up. So, that begs the question, what the heck is the point of it?

 

 

 

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The point of small claims court, or any court for that matter, is for the judge (or jury, in higher courts) to decide who owes who money and the amount owed.  Contrary to many headlines, the judge does not "order the defendant to pay the plaintiff ____ dollars."  The judge just says "I find the defendant owes the plaintiff ____ dollars."  Then the plaintiff has to find assets belonging to the defendant that can be seized to pay the amount owed.  This is often the most time consuming part of any legal matter.  It is called "execution on a judgment" and I suggest you google that and add your state to zeroin on the process.  In many cases the assets owned by the defendant are exempt from seizure or the process to seize and sell them is so laborious it is not worth it.

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22 hours ago, TxDogMom said:

Dude, I'm an engineer and not a lawyer and wanted to be sure that what I understood from reading that TOS was right. Her only assets are her home, her car, her bank accounts.

 

So basically you're saying, small claims is not really worth anything because you can win but have no way of forcing them to pay up. So, that begs the question, what the heck is the point of it?

 

 

 

 

Well, Dude.  The judge doesn't have the bailiff hold a gun to the person's head to force them to pay a judgment.  We also don't send debtors to jail in the US.  Texas doesn't allow garnishment of income so that is out as well.

 

 

 

Here's a walkthrough on collecting judgements in TX https://www.wikihow.com/Collect-on-a-Judgement-in-Texas  It has pictures so even an engineer should be able to understand it.

 

But I'm sure you have heard the saying, "You can't get blood from a turnip."  It applies with judgments at least as much as anywhere else.

 

 

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