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Who is responsible

imtracker
January 4th, 2007, 09:38 AM
Hello, This is my first post and i have an ethical question.

A cat was chasing a racoon, my friend, driving her car saw the racoon and slowed down but did not see the cat (it was at night on a narrow street). The cat ran right into her front bumper so my friend took her to a veterinary emergency clinic on the advice of a groomer who worked there and who happened to be passing by.

The cat had no tags or microchips, and my friend was asked to provide a credit card before the cat was treated. The cat is now fine but needs care and my friend, who is allergic to cats volunteered to foster it. Word got around and the owners were found and they took the cat back.

Now here is the problem. The owners claim the cat HAD a tag and would have chosen to euthanise the cat and feel that my friend took responsibility for the veterinary care so it is her problem (it was a LOT of money). End result, they will not pay for any of the care. My friend feels she could not have simply euthanised the cat, nor did she know enough to call the humane society or animal serivices here in toronto. She went on the advice of the passer by and went to emergency.

So... Who should pay and how much? Both legally AND ethically? (often they are at odds)

Thanks!!! :cat: :ca:

happycats
January 4th, 2007, 09:46 AM
In believe legally the owner should pay for all.(had there been damage to the vehicle, she would be able to claim that as well)
It is thier cat and they are responsible for it. Had your friend put the cat to sleep, they probably would have sued her.

I say, tell your friend to take these idiot owners to small claims court to recover all of her losses.

Hunter's_owner
January 4th, 2007, 09:56 AM
I agree with Happycats:thumbs up

Lukka'sma
January 4th, 2007, 10:02 AM
Too bad that your friend wasn't able to reach some monetary amount prior to returning the cat to the owner.
I am not sure how I would divide the bill, but I do think there is some responsibility on both sides.

SarahLynn123
January 4th, 2007, 10:16 AM
I would say the owner should pay, they took the chance by letting the cat outside now they should pay the consequences.

If I were your friend I would have kept the cat! Unfortunatly, allergies prevent that!

Definatly small claims court and soon

erykah1310
January 4th, 2007, 10:20 AM
Yup i'd head off to small claims as well. However then there is court costs and even if they do order the owners to pay, nothing really enforces it.
Its risky buisness being a good samaratin, obviously since the owners said they would have opted to euthanize the cat they dont give much of a hoot bout the poor thing.:sad: If someone was to pick up one of mine in that situation iwould even pay a reward on top of vet care. Its all part and parcel of pet ownership.

~michelle~
January 4th, 2007, 10:23 AM
it would be the responsibility of the owner to pay. there were no tags on the cat, so they person doing the nice thing made the assumption of what the average person would do. the driver wouldnt have got in trouble if they drove away and left the cat there. the owners are being cheap. if they dont want the cat anymore (which they are indicating) they should pay the vet bills and have the humane society rehome it

Golden Girls
January 4th, 2007, 10:30 AM
IMO Ethically if the owner was a loving, logical and responsible owner she would of not only paid the whole bill, would of been as equally grateful to the driver for saving the cat's life :love: . Obviously that isn't the case here right :sad:

Had your friend called the SPCA or Animal Control - the cat probably would of been a goner!

So your friend is abviously out of alot of money and that suk's big time but ask her how she feels? I bet had she left the cat her conscience wouldn't of left her alone so tell her she's an :angel: and knowing she at least saved this cat, can sleep at night. The owner's obviously doesn't give a crap either way so I wouldn't suggest to drag it through court. I believe they would of chosen euthanization :shrug:

happycats
January 4th, 2007, 11:42 AM
Yup i'd head off to small claims as well. However then there is court costs and even if they do order the owners to pay, nothing really enforces it.
.


I think the losers has to pay the winners court costs. and there is enforcement, they can even garnish wages. (acording to this website anyway)

http://www.justicematters.ca/About_the_Small_Claims_Court.html

Kristin7
January 4th, 2007, 12:11 PM
I voted both pay some, to be diplomatic. However, I think one of two things should have happened: ideally the owners pay all, or, the friend keeps the cat (she seems to care more about it). But she is allergic. Another option would be to find the cat a good home with owners' who care. Can she steal the cat back? :evil: I think if the owners had kept the cat inside this never would have happened. I would have done the same thing as the friend. It is rude not to offer any money on the owner's part, even if they are poor, as it would have been a nice gesture and thanks for saving the cat. I wonder, if the owner's are taken to small claims court and lose, will they hold this against their cat? What role does the ER vet play in all this?

Prin
January 4th, 2007, 12:13 PM
I agree with happycats and SarahLynn...

You let your cat roam free, and it's a living thing that a lot of people would feel obligated to help. 2+2 means you pay. :shrug:

Or you don't pay and the friend gets the kitty.

imtracker
January 4th, 2007, 01:08 PM
What role does the ER vet play in all this?

I had been wondering the same thing, the ER vet could have suggested the city's animal services instead of taking a ton of money from someone who is not even the owner.

But in the end the cat lives... which has no price. The dilemma is money now instead of worrying about a dead cat or wondering if it will find a home.

Golden Girls
January 4th, 2007, 01:38 PM
I forgot to reply to the legal side. I believe legally the driver will not get reimbursed should this go to small claims court. Not because I think she's at fault - she isn't! Morally she did the right thing by bringing the cat to the vet, paid for it and even nursed/fostered it until the owner was found. Thankfully there are good people in this world,. But I'm assuming it was never intended at that point that she would be reimbursed - she did it because she's a good and loving person and felt somewhat responsible for the suffering. If the police were called the owner would of gotten a measily fine for allowing her cat to roam and maybe another one for no tag. It's not even considered an accident if an animal is under 50 lbs.

The vet is a business but he should of told her most likely she'd be out of the money seeing no one knew this owner at that point. Had she had no means of paying for it - animal control would of been called and the cat would of suffered and most likely euthanized seeing it had no tags.

Do I think this woman should be liable absolutely not ... ethically she took responsiblity as we all would but I feel the law will lean towards this owner who'll probably say it accidentally escaped and would of had no choice but to pts - has 5 kids to feed etc

The question was who's responsible: 100% owner

But the moment unfortunately she took out her credit card she took the responsibility and made a decision to save this cat. If she was dealing with a loving pet owner this wouldn't even be a discussion but is she?

I feel really bad for this driver but sometimes being a good person and doing the right thing can sometimes suk big time both financially and emotionally :shrug:

happycats
January 4th, 2007, 02:04 PM
Bottom line is the owner was negligent. and that being said, , if your friend did what a reasonably prudent person would have done in the same of similar circumstance, (which I believe she did) then she should prevail in small claims court. IMO

I also believe that had the owners not "re-claimed" the cat, then your friend would have a much harder case. Them reclaiming it makes her case. IMO

I would suggest your friend get a free consultation with a lawyer.

Good luck to your friend, and I hope she wins, she deserves it. :angel:

coppperbelle
January 4th, 2007, 07:28 PM
I think the owner is responsible 100% for the vet bills. She/he allowed their animal to run free and there was nothing the driver could have done to avoid hitting it. She did the responsible/ethical thing and brought the animal to a vet for emergency care.
I would take this case to small claims court. The cost to file a case is minimal.
I know what Judge Judy would say to the owner. PAY UP!!!!!!!!!!!

Frenchy
January 4th, 2007, 07:53 PM
And let me guess, if your friend had gotten the cat euthanise the owner would have sued ? It's the owner responsability all the way.

twisten
January 5th, 2007, 05:00 PM
I also voted that the owner should be the one to pay. I also agree with someone else's suggestion to get a free consultation with a lawyer.

ColliesRule
January 5th, 2007, 11:10 PM
Dogs are considered property, cats are not. If someone hits your dog and leaves the scene, if caught, the driver can face hit and run charges. If a cat is hit, it doesn't matter as cats are not considered property. If a good samaritan hits your dog and takes it to the vet to be treated, by law, the owner of said dog does not have to reimburse the good samaritan. The vet office should inform the good samaritan that they do not have to pay for vet care but should they offer, they may not get reimbursed from the owner. Ethically, the owner should reimburse but it's their decision and they may have opted to euthanize the dog. Once again, it's a hard decision because people want to help but they become jaded when the owners don't pay up. Another reason to tag, chip or tatoo your pet. That way you can be contacted easily. I would pay up if someone helped my dog without question. However, a good samaritan who is rich and helps my dog may not be reimbursed the full amount as I am not rich. It's a fine line I guess. Oh, also, if a dog causes damage to the good samaritan's car, they can be reimbursed for that

erykah1310
January 5th, 2007, 11:14 PM
Oh, also, if a dog causes damage to the good samaritan's car, they can be reimbursed for that

Not reimbursed as much as sued. A lady took the ditch by our house when we first got my big dog ( she was too busy staring at him) she tried to say that he ran out in front of her and she had to swerve ( we were both in the drive way with him and he was chewing bones) when the OPP came we could have ended up in court. We agreed to pay $150 for the damage to her front bumper. Regardless of what we would have said about him being in the yard, he was " free" and not confined. We would have lost.
Some people are just rediculous and will do anything for a buck.

technodoll
January 5th, 2007, 11:50 PM
reading all this... i'm not sure *what* i would do if i ever accidentally hit and hurt a cat and it had no tags or identification... it would probably be at night and dark in the streets? no vets open? and with dogs in the house and probably in the car with me, then what? :confused: find an emergency vet and just leave it there without giving my name in case i would get sued for hitting the cat in the first place? :confused: :eek: :(

erykah1310
January 6th, 2007, 01:45 AM
I had hit a dog once. :sad: coming home from camp. I stopped and told the people ( woke them up as it was 3 am) and they were thankfully "normal" and appreciated that i took the time to stop.
We helped move the dog and covered him with a tarp for them out of the truck. I would appreciate someone helping in anyway, regardless of the out come. However too many people do not.

angeldogs
January 6th, 2007, 02:11 AM
I voted owner should responsable.they should pay back the friend.Either way she is an :angel: for doing what she did and saved a life.

Golden Girls
January 6th, 2007, 08:44 AM
I know what Judge Judy would say to the owner. PAY UP!!!!!!!!!!!She's a blast and I believe that's exactly what she'd say!

chico2
January 6th, 2007, 09:01 AM
I agree with what GG said 100%,I feel we are ALL responsible to help an animal that is suffering,be it a stray,an abused neighbors animal or if you hit an animal on the road.
The good samaritan will probably never be reimbursed,but at least she knows she saved this cats life,the only thing that really bothers me is that she had to return the cat to an owner who obviously does not care:frustrated:

Golden Girls
January 6th, 2007, 09:33 AM
I have a situation but reversed. This man was driving in a 30 KW school zone, my leashed golden spotted a cat on the other side of the street bolted from my son's grip got hit where he literally flew in the air over a speeding van. It was a Sunday so the only vet opened was DVM (emergency) Plenty of witnesses. The driver did stop and later much later met me at the police station. The police wouldn't even come to the scene when I called 911 because it was an animal and not considered an accident. (later I found out legally it was an accident because he was 100 lbs).

Anyway my :rip: Buddy was under intensive care, xrays, pain reliever but unfortunately in the end I decided to euthanize him. He had a complete crushed pelvic. I could of sued this guy and the police actually. Did I (although this story didn't just end here) I decided my heartbreak was more then I could handle besides the fact this guy obviously couldn't afford even a bar of soap he smelt so bad. I just knew had I won I'd been chasing this guy till I died.

Legally we are suppose to have control of our animals at all times but accidents do happen. That's why it's called an accident. Could it have been avoided, probably not but if speed wasn't a issue maybe he could of been saved is all I'm saying. I could of dragged this through court, would of had to do an auptosy etc but I think no matter what when it's an animal our law's freakin stink! Unless I had alot of $ and an extra couple of years I just couldn't handle the stress of even losing him period much less dealing with what was right/wrong/morally/legally etc ...

technodoll
January 6th, 2007, 09:35 AM
awe GG... how terrible :grouphug: sigh.

Golden Girls
January 6th, 2007, 09:56 AM
I didnt post for boo hoo me but appreciate the hug nevertheless TD thanks :o
I think this thread can be a real eye-opener. Since owning animals or stepping up trying to defend them I've had jaw dropping moments that are unbelievable! I almost wish I knew nothing ...

Prin
January 6th, 2007, 01:44 PM
:grouphug: Sorry GG.:(

When Boo got hit by a car a few years ago, we didn't even think of suing the guy who hit him until the guy sped off without even asking if Boo was ok. :frustrated: I take comfort in knowing the radiator in his car is caked with Boo "splatter"....:evil:

We are supposed to be in control, yes, but is it a parent's fault when a kid runs across the road to get a ball and gets hit? (I don't know the answer to that...:o)

Golden Girls
January 7th, 2007, 10:22 AM
Sorry to hear of Boo's accident too Prin :grouphug:
I don't know if there is a fault when children run accross a street without looking. Depends of the circumstances I guess but mostly it's an unfortunate accident, still were suppose to have control of a car at all times :shrug:

Golden Girls
January 7th, 2007, 10:26 AM
Sorry about threadjacking imtracker :o
But in the end the cat lives... which has no price. The dilemma is money now instead of worrying about a dead cat or wondering if it will find a home.I agree. BTW have you heard from your friend and what she would like to do?

LL1
January 7th, 2007, 03:39 PM
Legally the person who took the cat to the vet and put it on her credit card.Morally the owner of the cat.

OntarioGreys
January 7th, 2007, 09:05 PM
We are supposed to be in control, yes, but is it a parent's fault when a kid runs across the road to get a ball and gets hit? (I don't know the answer to that...)


Parents have been charged with neglect, for not supervising their chlidlren closely in incidents like this, part of the decision for charging the parent lies with the age of the child at the time of the incident

my leashed golden spotted a cat on the other side of the street bolted from my son's grip got hit where he literally flew in the air over a speeding van.......
Legally we are suppose to have control of our animals at all times but accidents do happen. That's why it's called an accident. Could it have been avoided, probably not but if speed wasn't a issue maybe he could of been saved is all I'm saying. I could of dragged this through court, would of had to do an auptosy etc but I think no matter what when it's an animal our law's freakin stink!

:sorry:
Legally you probably would have lost....... "the dog must be on leash and in full control" the judgement would have been bases on Your son was either not or not old enough to be in full control of the dog of that size.
To understand what I am saying ..... lets say your son was holding the dog on leash and got loose from him and bit someone -- this is where the control really comes into play when determining fault. So even though the driver was speeding at the time the most he could have been charged with was speeding, where as you could have been charged with not having control of the dog being the legal owner of the dog and therefore responsible for any ensuing damages that might have occurred as a result of "not having full control" so if the owner of the vehicle had damages to the vehicle from the dog bouncing over the hood and roof you would have been liable for those damages because those damages would not have occured if your dog had not on the road(speed or no speed) , consideration for speed comes into effect when calculating damages, it would determined less damage would have occured had he been going slower so he would only recieve partial award for damages.
Chances are though the case would have been thrown out of court with no winners you for not having full control of the dog the driver for going too fast to be in full control in area where children were, with a verbal reprimand to the driver about being fortunate it had not been a child than ran into the road instead.

I can almost see you shaking your head and saying "no way"....... but lets change part of the senario

Dog "sees cat", child is walking dog on leash, dog bolts loose across the road to chase cat pulling leash out of childs hand , dog run into the path of older lady driving car driving the speed limit, she swerves to avoid the dog, but still ends up hitting the dog, the dog dies as a result of injuries and then the car jumps the curb hitting a child waiting for a school bus, causing injury to the child.

Determining fault is not determined by who suffered loss but the chain of events that led to the incident occuring and who could have prevented it from occuring in the first place, in the last senario , no one would question the dog owner being at fault for not having full control of the dog themselves

Driving slower does not mean being able to avoid hitting an animal sometimes you simply do not have the stopping distance to do so, timing plays a large role, I was driving alsmost city speed on a dark rural highway(55 KPH in an 80) 3 months ago when I hit a deer that ran out in front of me, there was simply no way to avoid it without risking injury to myself under 2 seconds difference in timing and then would have been no accident, she just about got past the front of the van instead got hit in the hind legs

As for the cat I agree legally the friend is not entitled to be reimbursed, the vet told her what the fees were and she "offered" to pay she could have withheld the cat for reimbursment but she "chose" not to. Morally the owners should have paid

~michelle~
January 7th, 2007, 10:31 PM
i know some laws around here say of there is an animal in your path, and you swerve to miss the animal and could cause damage to person or property you can be fined with dangerous driving..... :shrug: its dumb but happened to a friend of mine, he swerved to miss a dog ended up in a ditch at the side of the road flipped his car injured nobody else and still got a ticket. the law values human safety over animals and swerving to miss an animal can have serious repercussions

pitbullpony
January 7th, 2007, 11:38 PM
Ontario law;
Since most municipalities have either containment or control laws re: animals, it is the animal owner at fault for any damages done to anyone off property; and some on property; unless the dog is defending your property; then I still think you have to prove it (i.e. defense of property as opposed to random bite). i.e. your dog trips someone on the sidewalk; they sue your homeowner's policy. Same when your lab cracks the front fender of a Sunfire and the repair to the leased auto is $1300 for the new "bumper" moulding. Technically if you are going to claim ownership to the cat; damages are your fault too; except so many areas don't have cat bylaws; so I imagine this is specific to each municipality.

Insurance is probably going to be the most aggravating for anyone dealing with a dog hit; if the car driver doesn't find the dog's owner and get information from them; then the car driver's insurance company is simply going to be placing 100% blame on the car owner; which means they are 100% at fault and thus next year they can have their insurance premiums raised. So yeah, the bumpkin that drove off without stopping most likely cranked his ins.; if there was damage to the car; and since most cars are made of plastic nowadays; there probably was.

I agree with the premise of the one poster; I teach driver's ed and while we teach that it is inappropriate to swerve; but appropriate and kind to brake if possible; there are definitely situations where you shouldn't be hitting squirrels, let alone anything bigger. I maintain that unless a black dog jumps between two cars on a moonless night in the exact spot where there are no lights; you should have seen the dog ahead of you and been watching for it.
I also equate hitting animals in urban environments with hitting kids; they both react randomly and it should be the driver of the car that is capable of avoidance.

imtracker
January 8th, 2007, 12:37 PM
Sorry about threadjacking imtracker :o
I agree. BTW have you heard from your friend and what she would like to do?

Hi, Thanks for all the posts and I am sure other people besides myself and my friend have benefitted from everyone's stories and advice. My heart goes out to all who have lost an animal to accidents. :grouphug:

As for the outcome or next steps, once it is known I will post what happened to keep everyone up to date. :fingerscr

Golden Girls
January 9th, 2007, 07:37 AM
Legally you probably would have lost....... "the dog must be on leash and in full control" the judgement would have been bases on Your son was either not or not old enough to be in full control of the dog of that size.
I can almost see you shaking your head and saying "no way"Actually OG I sadly agree with you. And although my son was 15 at the time he was 6' and weighed about 160 but still it's not the point. What I was trying to get accross was merely because it was a dog and not a child this wasn't taken as an accident. For many our dogs are as loved as our children and I would of liked from both the driver and police a bit more respect to that fact.