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Question:

We have a dog walker who a colleague is looking to provide quotes for under GL.

We have it agreed by insurers we have got terms from that the Care Custody Control (CCC) extension will extend to treat dogs as third party property in the event a dog is injured whilst in their care.

We are seeking clarity as to whether or not you would expect a dog walker to be liable for injuries sustained to dogs in their CCC, where a Third Party dog (not one in their CCC) caused the injury (say for example a Third Party's dog escapes a property or is off a leash).

We have pointed out that there may be certain circumstances where strict liability is imposed (i.e. there does not need to be a negligent act/omission that could make the dog walker initially liable) and therefore the GL policy would have to respond to pay damages to the dog walkers client in the first instance, prior to seeing if recovery from any other party was possible.

Are you able to clarify?

Crossley Gates replies:

A person walking another person’s dog has that dog in his or her possession and so is a bailee of the dog.

A bailee is only liable for damage (injury/death) to the dog if the bailee has been negligent (failed to take the care that a reasonable person would take in all the circumstances). The liability is not strict. However, bailment law reverses the onus of proof. So instead of the dog owner having to prove the bailee failed to take reasonable care, the bailee has to prove that he/she did take reasonable care despite the injury/death.

For reasons that I have never understood, the insurance industry does not refer to this branch of tort law by its correct name (bailment). Instead it refers to ‘care, custody and control’. In most situations this amounts to the same thing.

I suggest that what is critical for you client is to have cover for care, custody and control (bailment). That is the primarily liability a person walking another person’s dog faces.



March 2022

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