About two months ago my dog attacked another dog at a dog park. My dog is about 70 pounds, pretty big, and a rottie/shepherd mix as seen here:
The dog he attacked was basically a 4 pound rat terrier looking thing, three years old, female and her name was Bella. Do not have a picture of that dog but I assure you it was tiny. Both my cats are bigger than that thing at this point. Sawyer has never attacked either of them, any humans, or done anything like that before or after that incident. He also didn't attack Bella as much as he held her in his mouth and clamped his jaw down and wouldn't let go. We don't know why this happened just that it did happen.
Woman from the dog park approaches us to get our names, well my name. My friend was there with me and with his dog. We both live in the same house but Sawyer is my dog, Shelby is his. We give our names, contact information, I take full ownership of what Sawyer did, say I'll pay the medical bills. They amount to 1400 dollars because they had to take the stupid dog to emergency care and that's expensive but she lived and I feel much better knowing she lived rather than running off and not knowing what happened at all.
The woman from the dog park, we'll call her K. is a volunteer there. She paid the vet bill FOR me because they wanted money upfront being as how it's an emergency vet and all. I meet with her, talk about paying her back, ask about setting up a payment plan cause I don't have 1400 dollars. She says she'll be in touch.
Two months pass. She doesn't say anything to me. As I don't have 1400 dollars I'm not exactly eager to knock down her door demanding she let me pay her anything. Every day I more or less dread she's going to call and ask for the money. Says nothing. She didn't return the email I sent her to follow up and ask about a payment plan and I say "Fuck it" cause whatever, right? Months later, she emails me, trying to get the money.
I explain to her (she emailed me literally a day after my jaw surgery by the way, like the exact day after I sunk 6000 I didn't have into this) that I just had surgery, I had to pay out of pocket for it and that I am now 6000 in debt. I tell her "No offense but any time in the past 2-3 months you could have started collecting payment and I could have at least been paying you something. You wait two months and this is the situation. I can show you the bills if you don't believe me." I never said I wasn't going to pay, I'm true to my word. I will pay her back, but she needs to understand the situation is that I'm 6grand in the hole, I only make a set amount each month, if I still want to afford rent/bills/food there is no way I can also add a bill from her into the mix. Once I clear up this whole mess I intend to pay her but this is not really a time that I can be offering her money. Had she come to me earlier it could have been taken care of one way or the other. My roommate even said he'd pay half, which she knows, and she NEVER contacted him. Ever. She has his phone number and email and he told her that he'd cover half and she STILL never contacted him.
She emails me back acting like I'm a bitch and that I said I wasn't going to pay her back. Which was literally never stated. What was stated was I have 100% no ability to pay her back right now and also still afford to live/pay rent/eat food. I don't think I'm being unfair here, I kind of need to take care of myself right? Anyway so she starts playing the martyr like "OMG YOU ARE SO AWFUL! I'VE BEEN SCREWED OUT OF MONEY BEFORE! SAVING DOGS AND PEOPLE PROMISING TO PAY ME BACK" and I'm over there thinking "Okay well stop doing that?" because honestly how much of a responsibility IS that little dog to me, personally? Look at it this way:
At that specific dog park there is a gated off area for small dogs. There is a reason for that. The reason being that these situations happen. My roommate once saw a Great Dane pick up a smaller dog like a toy and shake it around. This isn't uncommon. Especially since smaller dogs usually are the more aggressive ones. This guy didn't have his small dog in the proper, designated area, it got mixed in with a bunch of bigger dogs, even though there is a reason and a specific area for smaller dogs. Obviously it's not mandatory but everyone knows that area of the park is there and people with small dogs do utilize it to avoid these problems. He didn't. That was his choice. He was not denied this area of the park, he ignored it. As such, my claim is that once he chose to ignore those rules, he willingly took a risk that his dog may be attacked by a bigger dog. End of story? Do I feel bad? Yes. Do I think it's awful what my dog did? Maybe? I don't really know. As horrible as it is, my dog is also a freakin dog right? We don't know what happened, no one saw. It's very possible this dog nipped at him or showed aggression and he thought "I'm going to stop this by biting it" which is a dog thing to do. I don't understand dogs.
So, once again, never said I'm not going to pay, I just really don't have the ability to pay. This K woman waited two months to try to collect on a bill when had she started right when she said she would she'd already have at least half of the money. She refuses to contact my roommate for the half he said he'd pay (no idea why either cause I know my roommate could afford it). It seems to me she wants to play the martyr here and claim OMG I DO SO MUCH AND NO ONE EVER RETURNS THE FAVOR when that's really NOT what is going on here at all. As bad as I feel that my dog hurt another dog, I really don't see WHY it's my fault or I should pay for it. I understand that it's the polite thing to do, and I'm still not saying I won't pay, but given the circumstances I was wondering what other people think? So three questions:
- Am I responsible to pay for this dog? Legally and/or morally obligated?
- Is this woman being a huge bitch about this or am I the one being stubborn?
- In this situation would you personally pay for the yourself or would you say "Fuck it" cause dogs are dogs and it's really not your problem?
All advice is greatly appreciated. As it stands now I fully intend to pay this bill, I don't go back on my word or forget about debts, but this situation is so fucking screwed up I'm wondering what people would do in my shoes.