Tampa, FL asked in Personal Injury and Animal / Dog Law for Florida

Q: A cat jumped jumped the fence and entered my backyard. My dogs hurt it. Am I responsible for the vet bills?

I broke up the attack but the cat was hurt. One of my dogs is hurt. Am I responsible for the cats vet bills?

2 Lawyer Answers
Michael  Mayoral
PREMIUM
Michael Mayoral
Answered
  • Coral Gables, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Yes, generally speaking, you could be held liable for the damages (bills). Under Florida Statute § 767.01 "Owners of dogs shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person or to any animal included in the definitions of “domestic animal” and “livestock” as provided by s. 585.01." You have defenses, such as comparative fault and that the cat "trespassed", but the trespassing defense appears to only apply to humans. It might be cheaper to pay the bills than to fight the case. You should consult an attorney with the specifics of the case.

Domenic J. Celeste agrees with this answer

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
Answered
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: The "comparative fault" defense thus looks most promising, depending on the specific circumstances. Thus what did the cat's owner do or try to do so that the cat wouldn't jump the fence?

Domenic J. Celeste agrees with this answer

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