I have chain link fence, my dog and neighbors dog play and run along it. Neighbor dog was digging at bottom of fence and my dog " accused of biting of piece of ear of neighbor dog". They want me to pay VET bill and upcoming follow up appt. No one saw this happen, and not sure if the fence might have cut some of his ear. Am I liable to pay?
The final answer depends, at least in part, on where and how the injury happened. If nobody saw it happen, the other owner will have a very hard time winning in court.
However, America is an "open court" judicial system, which means that anyone can sue anyone, at any time, for anything. There is no way to prevent these people from filing a lawsuit against you for the vet bill (and Small Claims court is just a type of lawsuit). Our system assumes that is a case does not have a proper legal basis, that will come out and there will be a correct result in the end.
If these folks sue you, it will cost you time and money to defend the claim, not to mention that you clearly have some bad feelings already engendered. For those reasons, you MIGHT want to think about offering to pay some part of their claim in return for a WRITTEN agreement not to sue you. People often settle cases by paying money that they might not be required to pay, to avoid time and money spent in court or to maintain good relations with someone. I am only addressing your question of whether you are legally LIABLE to pay.
If there was a witness who said that it happened outside of your fence, even just through a hole in the bottom, you might be legally liable, but your question stated that there were no witnesses.
You do not mention whether there was any involvement by Animal Control/Dog Warden of Humane Society. If any of those were involved (or if they get involved) they may pressure you to pay all or part of this claim, but only if they believe that the incident did not happen on your property.
There being no witnesses, and a likely alternate cause of the injury makes winning a lawsuit less than likely. Further, their dog would have had to have been on your side of the fence for your dog to have bitten it.
However, it may be beneficial for relations w/the neighbors to contribute to the vet bill. You would do well to get a signed release before doing so, however.
The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Those seeking such a relationship are directed to the contact form on my website.
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