A friend agreed to pet-sit my dog, Taishi, while husband and I were away for 3 weeks. To compensate her for doing this, we told her she could live in our apartment and eat any food we had without question and use our TV and our internet as much as she liked without question. She agreed to this arrangement. I never told her not to take the dog on public transit somewhere but it never occurred to me that she would. She decided to take my dog to an off-leash park. While out, she claimed, "After we got off the escalator, I looked down and saw Taishi's paw was bleeding. I don't know how it got that way. I took him to the vet and it cost $XXX dollars. I paid the bill but you need to pay me back." (It was some amount $200 or less. I forget how much exactly.)
She informed us of this while we were away and expected me to either find a way to send her the money from China, where we were, or give it to her the week we got back. I tried not to say too much about it because we were away and she still was caring for the dog and I didn't want trouble.
When we got back, I refused to pay for the vet bill because I wasn't the one who injured the dog in the first place. I told her that her desire to walk my dog was correct and admirable but there was no requirement to take him to the off leash park nor did I ever instruct her to do so, so his injury was entirely on her.
She said it was cheap of me to risk losing a friendship over a mere $XXX and if I really valued the friendship, I'd pay her back. I stuck by my attitude that she put my dog in an injurious situation, since this didn't happen in my own apartment, and thus I didn't owe her repayment. She then told me she borrowed the money from her mother and I need to pay her back so she could pay back her mother.
I told her that if she was willing to give me her mother's address, I would write a check for the full amount, payable only to her mother, and include a letter as to why her daughter had borrowed the money in the first place, as I didn't trust this person to have told her mother the truth to the purpose of the borrowed money. She told me in a panicked tone not to do that, to just give her the money and she'd be sure to pay her mother back. I stood firm and said the only way her mother was getting this money was with a direct check in her mother's name only and a letter explaining the reason for this check. She got huffy mad and ended the friendship, making sure to tell people I was a selfish and mean person in the process.
I don't regret the loss of the friendship. I explained what happened to other friends and they told me I wasn't a very nice person and that since I own the dog, it's my responsibility to pay for any vet bills he incurs when friends are looking after him. I then asked that if someone was babysitting a human child (under the pretended idea I had one, for illustrative purposes) of mine and the child got injured in their care, would I or the caretaker be responsible? They said that of course the caretaker is responsible but a dog is not a human child and I was comparing apples to oranges so it's not the same.
What is correct? If a pet sitter takes your pet somewhere unnecessary and it gets injured, should they be required to foot the vet bill or is it the owner's responsibility for that bill?
If you say the owner should be responsible, explain how that's fair when the pet sitter is already being fairly compensated for pet sitting and the pet only got injured because the pet sitter took it someplace that was entirely unnecessary?