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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71154
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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There, My wife and I were walking our dogs on leashes on

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Hi there,
My wife and I were walking our dogs on leashes on Saturday when a woman and two small children came past riding bikes and running free their small dog, one of our dogs got into a fight with it and their dog got quite badly hurt in the few seconds of fighting before we could part them, she has presented me with a vet bill for the injuries to her dog for £560.00. What I want to know is am I liable for the whole bill or should it be shared between us, I did at the time offer to help with any costs but never expected them to be so high.
Paul Wootten
tel, 01797 361559
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Do you dispute that your dog was the cause?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No, we were waiting on the other side of the road to let them pass as there is no pavement on our side and they were riding on that pavement and taking up all the room, our dog suddenly pulled the leash from my wife hand and crossed the road to where the other dog was, when we got to them they had already started fighting

Are you prepared to risk them reporting this to the police?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

they have already reported it to the police and we got a visit on Saturday evening their reference number is *****

Ok. Then there isn't much to lose.
You could argue they were contributorily negligent. If their dog was offlead then you can always seize upon that and also dog fights are rarely caused by one dog alone. The difficulty is that if theirs was a small dog then there is always a presumption in their favour. I really know where it comes from. It runs right though the law really - the stronger party is always presumed to be the aggressor. It applies to men in domestic violence situations when actually statistically women are far more likely to be violent, larger vehicles in road traffic collisions etc.
Whether she would sue is another matter. Actually it isn't as simple as showing her dog had injuries. The case of Chan v Paul and the Animals Act generally is quite helpful.
If you don't have third party insurance then your house insurance might cover this. It is a good idea to get third party insurance. If you become a member of the dogs trust you are insured automatically and it is only about £50 a year.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

yes just one point, I'm not familiar with the Chan v Paul case but as I am not trying to avoid any of the bill do you think an offer to pay half would be acceptable

Whether it is acceptable comes down to her really. If she is unreasonable then probably not.
I think overall that there probably would be some reduction if she went to court for her contributory negligence.