New Jersey Court: Pet Sitter Can Sue Dog’s Owners Over Bite

December 27, 2012

A New Jersey appellate court says a woman injured by a dog she was being paid to watch can sue the animal’s owners.

The Star-Ledger reports the Bergen County woman agreed to care for her neighbor’s golden retriever while they were on vacation. In exchange, she would get about $300.

While at the woman’s home, the dog bit and injured her when she tried to pick up a napkin. But a Superior Court judge ruled she wasn’t entitled to damages unless she showed the dog’s owners knew it was vicious or prone to attacks.

But the appellate court disagreed in a decision issued on Dec. 21.

The panel found the judge erred by classifying the woman as an independent contractor, because she earned extra income by working for a pet-sitting agency.

[Dog bite claims accounted for over one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars in 2011, according to The Hanover Insurance Group in Worcester, Mass. Rising medical expenses as well as the growing size of legal settlements are among the factors driving the significant increase in the cost of claims.]

Latest Comments

  • December 31, 2012 at 11:31 am
    CB says:
    This is an interesting verdict. It seems that choosing a job as a pet sitter or any other job that works with animals would be assuming some risk that the animal might bite o... read more
  • December 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm says:
    I love how now is it is not only her fault, but she "provoked" the dog or even fabricated that this was in fact "the dog" I can't stop laughing. Facebook is like a box of choc... read more
  • December 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm
    Ellie says:
    Goldens are not known biters, and who knows if she somehow provoked the dog and then it bit her, or how does anyone know it was their dog at all and not someone else's?? I jus... read more
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