Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Dogs Days II

My suggestion in a prior post that that the owners of dogs poisoned by a lunatic in a Portland park bear some responsibility for their own animal stikes some readers as suspect - even unduly harsh.

But suppose one of those owners had hired a dog walker, who had let the dog run unleashed in the park when it was poisoned. The dog walker would surely be civilly liable to the owner for the death of the dog. That the release of the dog violated a leash law in part intended to protect the dog makes liability of the walker to the owner clear. And the "wrong" that makes the dog walker liable to the owner marks the responsibility breached by the dog owner in his or her own act of releasing the dog, thereby creating the opportunity for its horrible, painful death to occur.

Of course, none of that even partially absolves the nut who is leaving poison in the park.

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