As the spring transitions to summer, many people have thoughts of getting away for a vacation. The summer is also the time of year when a lot of animal lovers feel it would be great to make some extra money pet sitting for dog owners who go out on vacation. While it all sounds like a fun way to make money, pet sitting as a summer part-time job carries a lot of responsibility. When it comes to dog bites, pet sitting can also be one the more dangerous summer part-time jobs out there.
Why Pet Sitting Can Lead To Dog Bites
Pet parents may not feel too anxious when it comes to leaving their dogs with sitters for an extended vacation, but rest assured that the dog feels plenty of anxiety. A dog that is left on its own while the owners are on vacation will have a change in behavior that could lead to dog bites for the pet sitter. It is estimated that $6 million per year in homeowner’s claims are paid out to victims of dog bites, and pet sitters make up a big part of those claims.
As a pet sitter, it is your job to care for the pet and be aware of the signs that the pet is uncomfortable. A dog that urinates in the house a lot or barks constantly is uncomfortable and misses its owners. If you notice the dog flicking their tongue, howling, yawning, or pacing a lot, then the dog is stressed and could bite. It is important to understand these signs and take precautions to avoid getting injured.
Dog Bite Laws To Be Aware Of
The dog bite laws in Pennsylvania are broken down into two categories; dogs without a history of biting, and dogs with a history of biting. If the dog does not have a history of biting, then the courts will look at the severity of the bite to determine what kind of lawsuit the pet sitter could file. A bite that shows significant damage (bleeding, damage to muscles or tendons, etc.) would allow the victim to sue for all losses including medical bills and lost wages. A bite that is considered less severe would only allow the victim to sue for medical expenses.
The first bite law applies to dogs that have a known history of biting people or other pets, and it allows the victim to sue for all associated financial damages. Pet owners need to be aware of the history of their dog, and the owners are responsible for letting pet sitters know of that history.
A pet sitter who makes every attempt to not antagonize a dog they are watching and still gets attacked has a case in civil court. However, the situation could be different if the pet sitter does not understand what they are doing and makes an angry dog even more upset. Any pet sitter who is bitten by a dog they are watching should consult with an attorney to see what kind of case they have.
Pet Sitters Should Protect Themselves With Liability Insurance
Dog bites are not the only danger a pet sitter faces when they are caring for someone else’s dog. Dogs can be unpredictable and the dog a sitter is caring for might need medical attention or something could happen to the owner’s home while the sitter is caring for the pet. Any person considering becoming a pet sitter needs to invest in the right kind of liability insurance to protect themselves in the event that something should happen.
Pet sitting insurance has special elements that make it helpful to the sitter and pet owner. There is special coverage called Care, Custody, and Control coverage that will protect the sitter if the pet is injured under their care, or if the owner’s property is damaged. Any pet owner who understands what they are looking for in a pet sitter will insist on this kind of insurance, so it is best to have it right up front.
Pet sitting can be fun, and it can be a profitable way to make some extra money during the summer. But if you do not understand the liabilities you face as a pet sitter and how the laws regarding dog bites work, then a part-time pet sitting job could see you biting off more than you can chew.