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Last night my landlord's dogs bit/scratched/dented my vehicle and it looks quite costly to repair. This has been confirmed on camera. My landlord has asked for the bill to be split 50/50. His reasoning is that:

  1. He cannot control what the dogs do
  2. The dogs provide security

Legally speaking (I live in Fiji), should my landlord pay for the full repairs or should it be split?

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    Not sure of legality, but IMHO an owner should be fully responsible for their dogs' behavior. If a dog attacks and injures a person, I don't think "He can not control what the dogs do" is a good excuse, so a car shouldn't be any different. As a side note, I suddenly have a strong urge to see the video of dogs attacking (and denting!) a parked car in the middle of the night.
    – TTT
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 15:23
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    Judge Judy loves cases like this. Alas, she prob wouldn't take a Fiji case.
    – user2497
    Commented Jul 5, 2016 at 22:27
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    Not sure about Fiji, but in the UK, the owner is responsible for anything a dog does. This doesn't apply for cats.
    – apokryfos
    Commented Jul 6, 2016 at 10:50
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    Definitely don't sue the dogs.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 21:35
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    @ohwilleke, then how will they learn their lesson? :) thanks for the responses guys, my landlord did end up paying for the repairs. Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 1:32

2 Answers 2

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In Fiji, The Dogs Act 1971 section 9 states:

The owner of every dog shall be liable in damages for any unprovoked injury done by his dog and it shall not be necessary for the party seeking damages to show a previous mischievous propensity in such dog or the owner's knowledge of such mischievous propensity or that the injury was attributed to neglect on the part of the owner of the dog.

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This will depend on the jurisdiction.

In the United Kingdom, I think more information is needed. In Fardon v Harcourt-Rivington, Lord Atkin made it clear that

[Failing to control dogs] is a liability which exist only in the case either of wild animal, which have by their nature a mischievous propensity, or of tame animals which are known to the persons having control to have a particular mischievous propensity.

In that case, the dog owner didn't know that his dog will behave harmfully to public and kept his dog inside a locked car. Later, that dog went mad and smashed the window, which caused injury to the pedestrians walked by. The court ruled that the owner need not to be liable to his dog's act as he do not know his dog will commit such act.

For the USA:

In McQuaker v Goddard, Scott LJ explained that, as a common law rule, wild animals are presumed to be dangerous to people, while domestic animals are not. Therefore, unless the owner of a domestic animal know that the animal could have propensity to hurt human being (or property), there is no liabilty upon the owner.

So, in order to claim from the owner, you need to show the court that he is aware of the potential danger and he negligently forget to protect the public safety. Hope it helps :)

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    Sorry to downvote this answer - I did so because, while it is useful, it was accepted and the answer is incorrect as the jurisdiction is Fiji - user6726 answer is really the correct one.
    – davidgo
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 21:52
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    I added the jurisdictions involved. That way, the answer may help others who are interested in different jurisdictions.
    – sleske
    Commented Aug 31, 2017 at 11:36

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