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When a dog gets attacked by another dog and the victim’s dog vet is in an adjacent city but costs to drive, is the victim entitled to receive gasoline refunds and the lost days at work during the forced absence?

Asked by user in California.

My husband and I were simply walking with our dog on the leash on a Sunday afternoon. The other person’s dog was wearing a tiny rubber cat collar without a buckle and she wasn’t paying attention to her surroundings. While in the middle of a busy sidewalk, she was texting and her dog freed himself and launched at my dog for not reason at all, chewing off a chunk 2 and half inches long and quite deep that cost him 6 stitches, a serious adverse reaction to pain, shot, two weeks of strong antibiotics that disrupted his stomach and intestines, made him anxious and sad and me and my husband consequently!

Answered by Enjuris Editors:

I am so sorry that you and your dog have endured this drama. It sounds like you’re asking to be reimbursed for costs related to the dog attack.

First, it’s important to report the attack to your local animal control department. If animal control determines that the dog is dangerous, there are certain restrictions that will be imposed in order to prevent the dog from injuring another animal or person.

Second, California’s strict liability law for dog bites requires that a pet owner is usually liable for a dog bite injury. However, a defendant might argue that it’s unreasonable to pay for costs associated with travel to an out-of-area veterinarian if there are veterinary services nearby. In general, a lawsuit can claim damages for the costs associated with an injury or loss, but you can’t usually go above and beyond reasonable costs. If you had to take time off from work because of the distance you traveled for the vet, but you wouldn’t have done so if you went to a vet in your one city, it might be difficult to recover those costs.

Finally, California offers small claims court for claims less than $10,000. This might be the best option if you’re interested in recovering those costs. Be sure to bring receipts for all of your related expenses when you appear in court. Best of luck and I hope your dog has a swift recovery.

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