Owner claims we left a gate open and dog got out


So yesterday we had an owner claim we left their gate open and their dog got out and ended up with a broken leg. Now when I exited I closed a series of gates behind me and our other employee there remembers his gate latching distinctly. We trust this employee very much and he has been incredibly solid and honest to a fault and has been with us for quite awhile. I told the owner as much but that we’d not charge him for his $600 window clean. He said he was fine as long as we canceled their bill despite the high vet bill he is going to pay. He claims there was no other service people there but we saw another service vehicle parked out front when we left. In addition the dogs were inside the house when we left. Any thoughts on how to handle this situation or at least get ahead of the fallout?


I would fire them as a ex-client.

Nothing worse than someone blaming another for their own carelessness. If there was someone else there, they are being dishonest with you. If you KNOW you closed the gates and the dog was in the house when you left, someone else (could be homeowner, could be anther service person) screwed up, and the blame is being placed on YOU.

None of us need people like this on our service list.


My biggest concern is how do we handle a poor review that may result from this? And also how do we prevent this type of thing in the future? Do we start taking pics of the gates after we have shut them as proof?


we keep our dogs inside when pool guy is here. (i dont want my dogs getting friendly with non family or close friends.)

anyhow pool guy didnt latch gate all the way. and we just assumed things were fine. we actually went out of town that day. fortunately we have some great neighbors and got my dog back in the yard. at home territorial out and about hes socialized.

i know if something happened it would be easy too blame the pool guy but ultimately its my home my dog my responsibility.

most likely i would’ve done what you did. it’s possible the service truck was for a neighbor they park that way here all the time


if you leave paperwork just make a notation gates have been closed. otherwise let them know we’ve checked gates and they’re secured.

we also work in garages alot of times so i always remind clients to close their garage doors


By letting your customers know that you are not responsible for their pet’s welfare. If they have pets then they need to secure them in whatever manner necessary to allow you to do your work unhindered. When people tell me “be careful so my cats don’t get out.” I politely tell them that if the cat’s escaping is a concern then the owner needs to lock the cat up in a room, closet, car, the freezer, I don’t care frankly but I will not be responsible for the welfare of their animals when working on their property. I have enough to think about already.

I have one customer with 2 large, rambunctious dogs and I told her she would have to secure them or we couldn’t come back. Now she schedules a spa treatment for the beasts on the day we are there so we don’t have to fool with them.


Steve you are so right. I think the new policy is going to be to let the client know while we have closed their gates they should double check gates before letting their pets back out and if they are concerned about pets getting out they need to secure their pet. We are going to add this into their appointment reminder email as well as tell each pet owning client verbally at the job as well.


the freezer lol awesome


Many people treat their pets as family members, some don’t. Would they let their young kids escape out a gate that may or may not be closed out of their sight? Probably not.
I don’t up and give away $600 for something I know not to be my fault. In essence this is what you told this customer - “yes, I did it and shouldn’t have; here, let me give you $600.”
Really? Worrying about a bad review because the customer did not secure his dog while a service provider was there? Whatever. If you like accepting blame and paying $600 for it, that is your business.
You were not hired to care for their animals, you were hired to do the job you agreed to.
If you agreed to also keep the dogs secure and you didn’t, then that is different AND there is a charge for that.


This is a tough call, you dont even know if the broken leg was a result of dog being out of yard.

I’d base this on previous experience with customer. If new customer, offer like you did, free service and state that’s the best you can do because dog was inside and gates secured when leaving.


We did not admit fault and told the client we distinctly remember closing the gates. However, when your dog has been injured after running infront of a car of course you are going to be emotional and angry. Was it ultimately the clients responsibility to care for their dogs? Absolutely. However this a new client we will never service again in a neighborhood filled with our best clients. The client was emotional, he wanted something done. Telling him tough nuggets would only incite further emotions and cause a very wealthy person to push things further. So we said while we did not leave your gates open can’t prove anything either way. We will comp your window cleaning and hope your dog has a speedy recovery. This pacificied the client and we have changed our policy to let clients know from the get go it is their responsibility to secure pets and to double check gates before we even arrive for service. Yes $600 Is alot of money to lose but if that’s the worst consequence out of this then I’m ok with that.


love it!


I remember one day I was inside a house cleaning the windows. I open the back door to grab something and their cat ran outside. This cat took off like a rocket! I didn’t even know they bought a cat. I felt so bad and knew there was no way I could go get it. My customer said “Don’t worry. The cat will come back.” I was so relieved.


Man … I wrote 3 different things an erased. Go make sure ther is a dog with a broken leg. Hit by a car An a broken leg that’s it. Hmmmm :thinking:.
Some people will exaggerate just Becuse therr pissed an you left it open. How dare they.

Swear I would pay a unannouced visit to apologize in person. “Hi I just wanted to stop by an opologize in person , I bought Fido a bone … where is he “


I had a customer who lived in a small unit, an elderly woman, she went out leaving her dog in the back, while I was cleaning the inside windows, the dog starts running around the back barking and with that it bolts under the fence and runs away.
I went out to try and coax it back, that just made it run faster and further away.
I immediately called the customer and informed her what was going on, she starts freaking out blaming me for letting it out. 20 mins later dog is still not back in the yard, even if it managed to get it back, the poor attempt at securing the gap in the fence was woefully inadequate. I call her back inform her that the dog is still no where to be seen after spending that time looking for it. I went back to finish the job and left.

Saw on facebook that the dog was missing and how a careless tradesman had let the dog out.

The dog was found a few hours later.

Ex- customer still blames me for letting the dog out.


I did a job recently with an insane Chihuahua in the home (thank you Les Nessman for helping me spell it phonetically). I wish the dog would have ran away.


Don’t feel too bad. I lost a customer who had a fairly large house on a yearly schedule because “I allowed” ‘Elvis’ the stupid Boxer dog to escape and so we then chased the miserable hound all over the property for an hour before we captured him and were able to put him back into confinement.

Here’s a pro tip for pet owners: If your dog (or cat) tries to run away from you, then it hates you, it also hates it’s own life. You are not keeping a pet, you are incarcerating an animal and you should let it go find a new home and leave pet ownership to people who don’t have to imprison their animals like furry hostages to keep them around the house.


first freezer

now “it hates you” haha

i have no patience for a dog that runs off we adopted a small shepherd mix she did that all the time. she didn’t stick around long. my other shepherd couldn’t stand her


While I might just comp it even if I know it wasn’t my fault, thinking it would remove vexation, I would at that point be sure I’m done with this customer.

A couple years ago a customer had just gotten a dog and it just insisted on running out the door every time it was open. How dare he! We were expected to not let him get past us as we went in and out, sometimes with a good amount of equipment. The look she gave me when I ‘goofed’ and it ran out, that was the nail in the coffin. Glad she hasn’t wasted her time calling me lately.


I have never understood why it seems like some people’s dogs constantly runaway.