Who is responsible if dogs get hurt while playing?
I was just glancing over the O.M.G. thread and thought I would start a new one, as I am wondering, how owners feel, in general not that particular situation, about when dogs get hurt when playing at dog parks or just playing with other dogs, as far as responsibility for costs incurred?
When Heidi was young, she used to like to play chase with the other dogs at the dog park, and twice she nipped another dog's rear. The first time, I did not offer to take responsibility because, without going into detail, I did not see any injury and I felt that the owner was just trying as an afterthought to get money out of me. The second time I did see that the other dog (it was a greyhound, imagine Heidi "catching" a greyhound!) had a bite, and the owner said she didn't think he needed to go to the vet, but I gave her my phone number and begged her to call me if he did because I wanted to pay for it. I never heard from her.
So, I am just wondering: when dogs get hurt when playing, is it just an assumed risk we take when we let our dogs play with other dogs? Or is it the responsibility of the owner of the dog who caused the injury to pay the vet bill? I'm not sure how I feel, but I think I pretty much fall into the first camp that it is at your own risk, crap happens. Needless to say, Heidi stopped going to dog parks, but I can't imagine myself asking someone for money if my dog gets hurt playing. I'm talking about off leash play in a situation where both parties have agreed that our dogs should play; if Heidi is leashed and an off leash dog approaches us, that is another matter.