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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71134
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Dog (not a dangerous breed - terrier) kills a cat 4 years ago

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Dog (not a dangerous breed - terrier) kills a cat 4 years ago after escaping its garden and entering unsecured neighbours garden. This action is unreported but cat owners provide witness statements. The same dog allegedly injures a cat this year whilst being exercised off a lead in public open countryside. The cat was chased into an unsecured garden (or was already in its owners garden). No strict proof available but owners provide witness statements alleging two dogs attacked their cat.
Is the person exercising the dogs (also the owner) liable for the vet bill arising and if so is there a limit and can a defence of volenti (cat owner should have secured their garden) be won? Bill is several thousand pounds. Claimant suggests that he had no knowledge of the risk and likens the risk to walking along a road not expecting to be run over.
Claimant will not negotiate. Without prejudice offer of half bill rejected. Offer disclosed in particulars of claim.
Volenti has no relevance here.The Animals Act 1971 imposes liability upon owners for the conduct of dogs in two circumstances - where there is negligence or where there is a previous incident sufficient to create knowledge of a predilection in the dog.
The first incident would probably not be sufficient but the second would potentially.The person in charge of the dog could be liable if there was negligence on that occasion.The owner, if different, could try to exclude liability bye arguing that the dog should have been under the control of the walker.
There is no limit upon liability unless, of course the cost was not incurred.Can I clarify anything for you?Jo
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I know the 1971 act and the prior knowledge that the dog chases cats and can harm them. Is walking the dog off a lead in open countryside negligent therefore? Is it worth going to court or just paying the claim.
Not per se. Dogs need to be off lead sometimes.If there had been a previous incident involving that dog then walking off lead could be negligent.