What is the liability of a dog owner for property damage done by his dog?

In February 2011 my boyfriend bought a seven week golden retriever. From Feb. to the end of May they spent every weekend at my new home (I am Canadian and he is American). During this time the puppy urinated and defecated on all my wool hand stitched area rugs causing a great deal of staining. The pup also chewed on my pedestal dining room table and the rungs of three of the six dining room chairs and 2 of my four counter chairs. She also ripped/tore a number of clothes and ate two pairs of my shoes and urinated on two brand new bedspreads. She was housed in a large crate at night but while we were home she was allowed to be with us.

The last week of May I offered to watch the pup while my boyfriend prepared his boat for the water. This generous offer turned into almost three full weeks until I finally took the pup home myself. During these three weeks she continued to damage my property by chewing on my headboard, ate my prescription glasses and cell phone along with other miscellaneous damage.

Initially my boyfriend said he would pay to have my carpets cleaned (and even dropped them off for me over a month ago at a reputable rug cleaning service in Michigan). The price for the cleaning escalated as they had to treat the carpets for urine stains over and above the normal cleaning cost. He also originally stated he would pay for my furniture repairs which I paid 0.00 to have done. He never agreed to pay for my phone or eyeglasses as he said I shouldn’t have left them out for her to get. Granted they were on my bathroom vanity and kitchen counter respectively, but he claimed it was still my fault.

In total I have ,150.00 in property damage to which he now states he is not responsible for. This entire situation has pretty much ended our relationship of a year as I truly believe as the Registered Dog Owner he is Responsible for these damages.

If he is in fact responsible – it appears my only avenue to recover the cost of damage is through small claims court in Michigan. Sadly money is not an issue as he spends the entire summer on his 40 foot sailboat and has a great pension. I have told him numerous times that I would be willing to negotiate a fair settlement with him, but he now won’t even accept my phone calls and I’m stuck paying for a rental truck to pick up my eight carpets in Michigan.

Any Advice would be greatly appreciated!

Leave a Reply