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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71132
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My dog got involved in a fight with another dog. Both dogs

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My dog got involved in a fight with another dog. Both dogs were off the lead. Unfortunately the other dog had an unfortunate injury that required veterinary treatment costing about £350. The male owner of the other dog was very aggressive towards me at the time and I am female and was intimidated and in order to stop him shouting at me I told him to get to the vet. He said he had no money so I said we could sort it out. It turns out he is insured but has refused to claim on his insurance and came to my house and threatened me until I paid to release his dog from the vet. I am now going through the small claims court to get the money back but I am wondering if the stress is worthwhile as he lives nearby. My insurance company say there is no liability as both dogs were off the lead and so I can't claim under my 3rd party liability. My dog is a trained gundog and I can get letters from a number of shoots to say that she has never, ever been involved in any fights. She is not that sort of dog although obviously she got involved this time. What are my chances of getting my money back do you think because if it is minimal I won't continue as it is very stressful.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
To be wholly honest, I am not sure on what basis this could be claimed. Come what may, you paid him.
Had you not paid him you would have had a very good defence if he had tried to sue you. Apart from anything else he would have to show your dog was the aggressor which is always hard to do and that you were negligent in some way. That is not what we are dealing with though.
You are essentially trying to claim back money that you paid. I suppose you could argue that the legal doctrine of mistake applies but it is not very strong I'm afraid. You could also argue duress but that isn't the strongest either.
The issue for this claim isn't the temperament of your dog. That would have been the case if you hadn't paid. The issue is whether or not you can recover money that you paid out. There is always a chance but it is not a strong one. I suppose he may not contest this. That does happen sometimes. You cannot rely on it but it could happen.
Sorry if that is bad news.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I paid the money directly to the vet. Does that make a difference?

It seems a bit unjust that a pensioner can be threatened to part with money by a young aggressive man with his foot in the door and have no way of getting it back. But if that is the case, so be it. I will just have to forego that holiday I was planning :-(

Not really. Unless you can argue there was an agreement that he would repay you which isn't your position.
You could try to argue that there was civil duress but that isn't really consistent with you paying the vet as that must have been done at another time so the pressure was not on at the relevant time.
Threatening you probably was against the law but the right course of action would have been to call the police to deal with that.
You can always pursue the claim. The worst that will happen is that you will lose and have to pay a small amount in costs and there is always a chance of success. There are never really any guarantees with legal action. You always take a risk.
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