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The expense of being a good samaritan


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  • The expense of being a good samaritan

    I'm ****ed off and I need to vent. Apologies in advance for the length of my post.

    Here's the situation:

    First off, you have to understand something about my wife. She attracts stray dogs like a magnet attracts iron filings. She easily comes across 2-3 a year without even trying, whether they're wandering through our property or walking on some roadside. And, dog lover that she is, she feels obligated to make sure these dogs are safe. So she will usually capture the dog and, if the local police can't find out who the owner is, she'll call the humane society.

    Well, we had some brush to get rid of and she decided to take it down to our village's 'brush dump' outside of town. While there, she saw a dog wandering around the place.

    She got the dog to come over to her and it didn't have a tag or collar. So she coaxed it into the car and brought it home. Then she tied it up to a tree in our yard while she notified the locals.

    At the same time, we were dog-sitting for a friend. The dog was a good one, a german shepherd, but it had one problem. It was very dog-aggressive, especially with dogs it didn't know. We knew this and took steps to ensure it couldn't get at unfamiliar dogs.

    Unfortunately, those steps weren't enough.

    My wife opened up our screen door, thinking the inside door was closed. It wasn't, and the visiting dog took off like a shot, heading straight for the stray. She attacked it like it was a piece of raw meat and, due to being tied up, the stray couldn't get away.

    It took only a few seconds for my wife to reach the dogs and stop the fight, but the damage had been done. The stray had a 5-6" laceration on its back.

    My wife felt horrible and responsible. She immediately called the humane society and asked what to do. They came out and picked up the dog and said they would take care of treating it.

    Fast forward about a week. My wife received a call from a person who lives outside of town. The humane society had been able to identify the dog as theirs. And, in addition to the $75 fee for picking up the dog, the HS also wanted $300 for the veterinary bill. The woman wanted us to foot the $375 bill.

    According to the woman, the dog is allowed to roam and never leaves their property. When my wife tried to explain to her that it wasn't on their property, the woman refused to believe her.

    My wife told her we would talk it over and let them know. We discussed it and decided that we certainly had some culpability in the situation, as we had allowed the dogs to get together, however inadvertently. But we also felt that, if the dog had not been roaming freely -- or even if it had a tag -- the situation would have never occurred. So we offered to pay half of the vet bill.

    When my wife informed the woman of this, she said the whole situation was our fault and we should be responsible for all the costs.

    My wife and I talked it over again. This is a small community and we're relative newcomers here (only 8 years). And the family that owned the dog is one we are likely to run into socially in the future. So in the interests of community relations, we offered to pay the full vet bill, but not the $75 for the HS. They agreed to this and I wrote them out a check for $300.

    The unfortnate side effect of all this is that my wife has vowed to never pick up another stray dog. She may soften in time, but she's adamant about it now. Plus, we've also put a moratorium on watching other people's dogs, especially those with behavioral problems.

    What say you? Were we wrong to offer to cover only half the vet bill? Or should we have stood firm and told them to get bent -- their dog, their problem?
    Caution and worry never accomplished anything.

  • #2
    No good deed goes unpunished. Damned if you do-damned if you don't. Stuck between a rock and a hard place......

    Take your pick. The answer? IT DEPENDS.

    Are 'The Stupids' really in a position to affect your way of OR in the future? I think a REASONABLE judge would say it was more like 75-25% 'at fault', with the OWNER being assigned the 75% part since SHE allowed the dog to run free to start with, coupled with the dog NOT being properly licensed(rabies vaccination PROOF). Does your town/county have a LEASE LAW in place?

    [ 05-24-2003, 11:07 AM: Message edited by: shooter1201 ]
    "When you guys get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a *****."
    -Commanding General, 1st Marine Division


    • #3
      I am not surprised at anything people do anymore; you and your wife were taken advantage of because of your kindness. Thats why some people just stop being nice...they are sick of getting reemed.
      It was unfortunate that the visiting dog pulled an O.J. on the stray and I hope it heals well.
      Ya'll sound like very nice people...we need more in this world! [Wink]
      "You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas."
      Davy Crockett


      • #4

        I'm not a dog person. But if that stray dog had been a stray cat, and had been mine, I'd've payed the vet bill myself and sent you a nice "Thank You, I thought she got run over by a car & I'm very happy to know she wasn't thank you thank you thank you!" note.

        Of course, if it was my cat, the first dog probably would've been the one at the vets


        • #5
          It doesn't surprise me. There are a lot of idiots who own dogs. Walking my grandma's dog one day, a Rotty (I love Rotties) took off for us from across the street- not mean, just wanted to meet my Grandma's dog. He ran right in front of an SUV and got smacked. Fortunately, the SUV was going very slowly. The dog did kind of a flip in midair, landed and walked back to its owner- it seemed okay. The owner was like, "Well, he's supposed to be on command. I don't know why he ran out there." [Eek!] WHAT?! Dude, it's a dog, not a soldier. No matter how smart you think it is, it's still an idiot (even my dog, and I loooove my dog!)

          A couple weeks ago, I "rescued" a dog who had wandered into our neighborhood from about a quarter mile away. I checked out the tags, phone number was disco'd but the address was still there. I left the dog in their back yard (gate had been left open). He was obviously very familiar and comfortable with the yard, so I knew he was at home (he ran to get a toy from around the corner as soon as I dropped him off). I left my name and number in case they had any questions about where their dog had been. No response. Didn't even care. I did check the next day to make sure they'd at least come home, and they had.

          It kills me that people can't even take care of a dog but they have kids. "My 3 year old was on command, she wasn't supposed to run in the street like that!" It's way too bad that you got burned so bad by one of the really ugly people (ugly inside [Wink] ). I wish I had some advice for you, but it sounds like you guys did everything right and still got screwed.
          I am disrespectful to dirt. Can you see that I am serious? - Mr. Sparkle


          • #6
            What an unfortunate situation for you and your wife. Normally I'd say why should they be out the $300 because your dog attacked it. But in this situation that isn't so.

            My biggest pet peeve among pet owners, if you're going to allow your animals to freely roam about, you lose your right to b**ch at someone if they accidentally hit it or if a situation like this happens.

            I will never understand why any pet owner would allow their pets to roam around. Do these same people allow their little children to roam around freely outside while not being supervised or somehow limited, by fence, where the kid can go?

            Reminds me of a friend a few years ago that had this little dog that no matter what it always wanted chase cars. My friend knew this, but he always let it out to freely do whatever.

            He always said how much he loved his dog and I remember one day someone hit it. He became all ****ed off at the person who hit it thinking that person should by him a knew dog.

            I said to him "dude, your dog running in the road after cars is nothing you didn't know. You knew your dog did this and you continued to let him do it, it is expected of him to get hit one day. "

            After a few days he finally understood where I was coming from. If you have a dog that constantly plays in the road then yeah, it will get hit. Lock the damn thing up!

            Sorry, like I said this is a pet peeve of mine. I sure in the hell wish leash laws were enforced better.

            I remember years ago when two pitbulls wandered away from their yard, around a SCHOOL! where KIDS are at. They attacked and killed several dogs. Police had to block streets off, per police orders the school had to lock down and not allow any students or staff out of the building.

            These dogs were violent, injuring or even killing everything that came into their path. You wouldn't believe the major police hunt that took place in search of these violent dogs. I remember police ordering people to remain in their house and not come out.

            They captured one, and I think they ended up having to open fire on the other one cause if I remember correctly it was heading for the officers.

            The owner of the dogs got upset and didn't think his dogs should of been killed. Tht ****ed me off.. I was like "Hello, your *#$($ dogs just attacked several LEASHED pets and brutally killed several more and also caused police to order people not to leave their houses and order the school to not let people out".

            I swear, sometimes I think it should be the pet's owner that should be laying dead in the middle of the road and not the pet.


            • #7
              Morally speaking, they should have thanked you for trying to do the right thing and appreciated as much as they would have if they'd known the dog was missing and then found out you rescued it...and they should have offered to pay all of it.

              Being equally moral, you could have admitted that while you meant well, it was your negligence that allowed the two dogs to come in contact and offered to pay for half the bill.

              When the owners of the aggressive dog for whom you were dog sitting found out THEY should have offered to split the whole bill three ways, since you were doing them a favor when your mistake cost someone else for whom you were also doing a favor.

              Legally speaking, everybody's off the hook except you. The law considers your ("negligent") mistake to be the sole proximate cause of the fiasco...but for the mistake with the doors, neither of the other party's actions would have caused the problem.

              Be glad the rescued dog didn't attack anybody while it was in your custody and control. If it had, you'd also be the one on the hook for that and you couldn't even collect against the actual owners if it happened between the time you picked him up and returned him to them.

              Likewise, most states hold a good samaritan to a "strict liability" standard when acting as a good samaritan, in many situations. The main exception is medical emergencies when you're only held to the standard of a reasonable person (or to an appropriately higher standard if you're trained in medicine) under the same circumstances.

              [ 05-25-2003, 12:32 PM: Message edited by: ProWritingServices4LEOs ]
              No longer ignoring anybody here, since that psycho known as "Josey Wales" finally got the boot after being outed as a LE imposter by B&G978. Nice job.


              • #8
                I think I would have told this "lovely" woman to just try and get the money from me. The Humane Society knows where they picked up the dog and it certainly wasn't "on her property" as she swore it was. People just slay me.

                Years ago, we lived in the country and there were some people up the road who had two Dalmatians. They were beautiful dogs but they were very, very mean and aggressive...and they got out of their yard all the time, even though they were chained. One weekend, my mom and I worked both Saturday and Sunday, planting rose bushes especially purchased for a rose garden my mom was building. Sure enough, one of the Dalmatians got loose and ended up at our house, dragging chain behind him. He got the chain wrapped about two of the rose bushes. The neighbor across the street came over, but every time he tried to get close to the chain to unwrap it from the bush, the dog lunged at him, snarling and barking. Eventually, the dog pulled up the two newly planted rose bushes and ran home. My mom went over to the people's house, told them what happened, and said that they must do something about the dogs getting out. She didn't even want compensation. The lady said my mom was lying, her dogs were sweet natured and loving, and were never out of her yard.

                But what goes around comes around. The neighbor across the street was also the owner of the house they were living in...they paid rent to him...and he evicted them from the house! Unfortunately, I don't know what happened to the dogs.
                "Americans don't want a mentally unstable president; he might start a war or something." - Bill Maher


                • #9
                  Your dear wife's heart was certainly in the right place and she should be commended for her caring attitude towards "lost" animals.

                  However, as many people have rightly pointed out, the legal liability can be extreme. Also, strays can often be infected with many contagious and nasty infections that you and your own pets can catch.

                  Let's not even talk about parasite infestations.

                  Also, dogs can have severe behavioral issues that you cannot predict from first impressions. Dog aggression is only one. I knew a large stray that went absolutely nuts at the sound of sirens-kind of like a rocket going off & very uncontrollable.

                  So, call the HS first to report strays.

                  Sad but true that some people can be cruel, heartless jerks and the first clue you have is their mistreatment of animals.

                  PS-the dog aggressive behavior can and should be addressed by the owners-they have some legal liabilities anywhere they take this dog.

                  Cheap lesson at $300, though.



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