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Can dog sitters hold the owners responsible for a bite while watching their dog?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2024 | Injuries

Dog sitting can be a rewarding job, but it also comes with risks. One of the significant risks involves dog bites.

When a dog bites someone while under the care of a sitter, it raises the question: can the sitter hold the owner responsible for the bite?

Are owners responsible if their pet bites the sitter?

In New Jersey, a ruling in 2013 clarified this issue. The case involved a dog sitter who got bitten while watching a dog. The court decided that dog owners are strictly liable for injuries their pets cause, even if the pet is under someone else’s care. This ruling highlights that owners hold responsibility for their dog’s behavior at all times.

This decision rests on the principle of strict liability. Strict liability means that a person is responsible for the damage and loss caused by their actions and possessions, regardless of fault or intent. For dog owners in New Jersey, this means they are liable for any bites their dog inflicts, whether the victim is a stranger, a neighbor or a dog sitter.

What does the ruling mean for dog sitters?

The court’s decision ensures protection for those who might encounter a dangerous dog. It encourages dog owners to take proper measures to prevent their dogs from causing harm. This includes training the dog and informing caretakers of any aggressive tendencies. Owners must provide sitters with detailed instructions on handling their dogs safely.

For dog sitters, this ruling offers some reassurance. They can seek compensation for injuries sustained while performing their duties. This ruling emphasizes the importance of communication between dog owners and sitters. Owners should share any relevant information about their dog’s behavior. Sitters should ask questions and take precautions when handling unfamiliar dogs.

Most importantly, the New Jersey ruling sets a clear precedent. Dog owners hold responsibility for their dog’s actions, even when they are not present. Dog sitters can feel more secure knowing that the law provides them with protection.