VIC Who is Liable for Pets Veterinary Costs?

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7 May 2016
Hello all

I have a question I'm hoping somebody may be able to help with, I'm not looking for a specific answer more a general idea as to where we stand.

My dog is kenneled and I received a call from the establishment saying that there was blood within his kennel and they suspected he has somehow broken his jaw. I asked that he be taken to a vet. This was carried out as per my instruction.

The vet informed me that he thinks the accident may have been a caused by a fall, the boarding kennels cannot tell us how this happened and they have no CCTV of the indecent.

My question is, who has the liability for the veterinary costs involved for our dog's treatment? I have been through the establishments terms and conditions and it seems quite vague in this regard. In parts, it says liability is with the pets owner and in another part, the proprietor is liable if a vet attributes the incident to them.

Thanks all:)

Victoria S

Well-Known Member
9 April 2014
Hi Benoit1,

I would say the more ambiguous the kennel's agreement is regarding the liability the better your chances of arguing that they are liable for the costs. Whether or not the vet would be considered liable at law for your dog's injury and therefore its vet bills would depend on all the circumstances surrounding the incident and how it occurred. A court would have to decide whether in all the circumstances the kennel owners negligently did something that gave rise to the injury.

There is a code of conduct for animal boarding establishments in VIC which provides amongst other things that when boarded dogs should be safe from attack, stress or injury and their behavioural needs should be met. You can check it out here: Code of Practice for the Operation of Boarding Establishments | Boarding establishments | Domestic animal businesses | Pets | Agriculture Victoria