A state appeals court has upheld a California jury’s verdict requiring a man who struck a neighbor’s miniature Pinscher with a baseball bat to pay the dog’s owners $50,000 for emotional distress.
In what’s being described as the first ruling of its kind in California, the Fourth District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana said someone who deliberately injures or kills another person’s pet must — even though dogs are considered property — compensate the owner for emotional distress.
The ruling quoted an 1889 California Supreme Court ruling in which the justices observed that “there are no other domestic animals to which the owner or his family can become more keenly attached” than dogs.
The ruling upheld $52,800 in damages — $2,800 of it for medical bills — against John Meihaus, who struck his neighbors’ 12-inch-tall, 15-pound miniature pinscher, Romeo, with a baseball bat, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Meihaus’ next-door neighbor in Laguna Niguel, David Plotnik accidentally let Romeo enter Meihaus’ backyard, and later heard a squeal and saw Romeo stumble. He said Meihaus, who was holding a baseball bat, told him Romeo had been barking and growling at him, but denied striking the dog.
A jury ordered Meihaus to pay for a $2,600 operation to repair Romeo’s right rear leg and a $209 stroller the dog needed to get around while he recovered. It also awarded $50,000 to Plotnik and his wife, Joyce, for emotional distress.
Meihaus appealed the original verdict, but the appeals court upheld it. His lawyer said he may appeal the latest ruling to the state Supreme Court.
Donna Bader, the Plotniks’ lawyer, said the court recognized that people value their pets and suffer when they are harmed. “Every time your dog is in pain, I think it causes the homeowner pain,” she said.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, animals, appeals, award, baseball bat, california, court, cruelty, dog, dogs, emotional distress, feud, jury, laguna niguel, min pin, miniature, miniature pinscher, neighbors, pets, pinscher, romeo, upheld, verdict
Baltimore City Police Officer Dan Waskiewicz will be honored today by the Baltimore Humane Society for the compassion he displayed responding to a call about a “vicious” dog.
When Waskiewicz earlier this year arrived at the location where the vicious dog had been reported, in south Baltimore, he saw a pit bull being chased by children, who were throwing bottles at the dog.
The officer called the dog, who ran over with tail between legs and sat down next to him.
Waskiewicz, a rookie and recent graduate of the police academy, put the dog in his squad car and took it to Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS). He returned to BARCS during the next few days to visit. Three days after receiving the call, with no owners coming forward, Waskiewicz adopted the dog, who’s now named Bo.
Officer Waskiewicz passed the story and photo along back in May to a pit bull rescue group in northeast Pennsylvania, which blogged about it. The photo went viral, turning Waskiewicz into something of an Internet folk hero.
“So often we hear stories where law enforcement officers rush to judgment with violent action,” said Jen Swanson, Baltimore Humane Society executive director. Waskiewicz, she said, observed the situation calmly before he acted. “He saved the life of an innocent animal and avoided what could have been a situation with a tragic ending.”
The ceremony will take place at 2:30 p.m. in the Adoption Center at the Baltimore Humane Society on 1601 Nicodemus Road in Reisterstown. The public is invited.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, adoption, animals, award, baltimore, baltimore humane, baltimore humane society, barcs, bo, call, city, dan waskiewicz, dog, dogs, honor, jen swanson, officer, pets, photo, pit bull, pit bulls, police, vicious, viral
Among the honors the documentary “100,000” has received is an Emmy award. Director Juan Agustin Marquez is shown here accepting it, and asking Puerto Ricans to take a pledge.
“We set out to change the world with this film, starting with our island, Puerto Rico,” he said.
“100,000 represents the specific number of dogs who live in the streets of our island nation. But the .. title of the film is more complex than that. What I truly wanted was to reach 100,000 people, humans, with the message of the film. I wanted 100,000 people to sign a pledge at the endof the film to learn about humane treatment for animals, especially dogs — to pledge that they will take care of their pets for as long as they live.
“We have a long way to reach our goal, but I will not rest until I get my 100,000 people to pledge to Puerto Rico’s dogs.”
Here is the pledge.
“100,000,” unfortunately, isn’t available for purchase, and it has yet to appear on American television.
But there is a way to see it, with English subtitles. The director says on the documentary’s website that he will provide a private link to watch it to those who email him. The email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 6th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100000, abandoned, abused, animal cruelty, animal welfare, animals, award, beach, beaches, director, documentary, dogs, education, emmy, juan agustin marquez, movie, neglected, pets, pledge, puerto rico, responsibility, stray dogs, strays, street dogs, view, watch
This week, we’ll be bringing you clips from the Emmy-winning documentary “100,000,” an investigation into dog overpopulation in Puerto Rico.
It’s a stunning look at what has led to the problem, the staggering heights it has reached, and what’s being done about it. (In three words, not nearly enough.)
The movie’s title, “100,000” refers to estimates of the number of strays roaming the streets and beaches of Puerto Rico. (Some others suspect the actual number may be twice as high.)
The video above is a trailer for the documentary, but in each of the next three days we’ll bring you substantial clips from it, including a look at a villager who tries to help street dogs; an organization (our friends at Island Dog) that patrols the beaches, frequently used as a dumping ground for unwanted dogs; and at how the handful of shelters on the island rely heavily on euthanasia.
Directed by Juan Agustin Marquez, the documentary has been broadcast in over 17 countries and has won numerous honors at film festivals.
Posted by jwoestendiek January 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 100000, abandoned, abuse, animals, award, beaches, clips, cruelty to animals, director, documentary, dogs, emmy, epidemic, euthanasia, island dog, juan agustin marquez, movie, neglect, neuter, overpopulation, pets, puerto rico, rescues, shelters, spay, stray dogs, strays, street, street dogs, trailer, unwanted, winning
A U.S. District Court jury in Chicago has awarded $330,000 to a family whose black Labrador, named Lady, was shot and killed during a 2009 police search of their home.
“That was my best friend,” the Chicago Sun-Times quoted Thomas Russell III as saying. “We did everything together.”
The Russell family sued the city of Chicago in January 2010, accusing police of excessive force, false arrest and inflicting intentional emotional harm. Police were searching for drugs, but found none.
During the 2009 search of the family’s apartment, Russell and his younger brother, Darren, were handcuffed and both had shotguns placed against their heads, their attorneys said.
At some point, Lady appeared and an officer shot her, the family’s lawyers said.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Thomas Russell asked police if he could lock up Lady, who was 9 years old, but the request was denied.
When Lady came around the corner with her tail wagging, Officer Richard Antonsen shot the dog, according to the suit.
The jury awarded Thomas Russell $175,000, Darren Russell $85,000 and their parents $35,000 each. The jury also awarded the family $2,000 in punitive damages, levied against Antonsen for shooting the dog, and $1,000, against the police supervisor who made the decision to arrest Thomas Russell.
Jenny Hoyle, a city Law Department spokesperson, said, “The officers involved in this case were executing a valid search warrant when this incident occurred and were simply protecting themselves.”
“We are extremely disappointed and reviewing all of our options, Hoyle added. “In particular, we think the damages awarded to the plaintiffs were excessive.”
In that case, I’d suggest, think again.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 19th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, award, black lab, chicago, damages, dogs, drugs, excessive, jury, killed, lab, labrador retriever, lady, lawsuit, pets, police, search, shooting, shot, thomas russell, u.s. district court
Yogi, in true Lassie form, ran to get help after his master fell of his bicycle and was seriously injured.
Paul Horton, 58, of Austin, Texas, was riding his bicycle with Yogi jogging alongside when he hit a curb. While he was unconscious, the dog remained at his side. When Horton, a 58-year-ol retired mechanical engineer, regained consciousness he couldn’t move.
According to the Associated Press, Horton urged Yogi to get help. Yogi went back to the road and encountered Horton’s neighbors, and barked at them until they followed him back to Horton.
Horton was taken to a hospital, where doctors diagnosed that his vertebrae had pinched his spinal cord, paralyzing him from the chest down.
“The dog alerting his neighbor was instrumental in getting him to a hospital and preventing his choking to death or going into shock. He might not have survived if he hadn’t been found until the next day,” said Dr. Juan La Torre, medical director of the spinal cord injury and amputee program at St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Austin.
Horton remains paralyzed and in a wheelchair, but he has regained some feeling in his torso, legs and back.
Yogi behaves differently since the accident, he said.
“He stays within sight of me in the house. If I change rooms, he changes rooms. If I move over five feet, he moves over five feet,” Horton said.
“It takes a very unique and special dog to do what Yogi did,” said Nicole Paquette, Texas senior state director of the society. “He obviously has a true bond with Paul, and it just demonstrates how close we are to our companion animals and how much we need them.”
(Photo: Horton and Yogi, by Rhonda Lee / KXAN)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2011, accident, animals, austin, award, bicycle, dogs, golden retriever, help, hero, hero dogs, hsus, humane society of the united states, paul horton, pets, rescue, spinal injury, texas, valor dog of the year, yogi
Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, chose 12 nominees for the honor – all selected from claims filed by clients. More than 3,000 people voted online to pick the winner.
Ellie lives in Santee, California, and the beehive was just the latest in a long line of items she has consumed in her young life – from wooden toy train tracks to laptop computer keys.
On top of the hive, and its thousands of inhabitants, Ellie also consumed pesticide – for the hive had recently been sprayed. On the plus side, that meant the bees she consumed were already dead. On the down side, the pesticide made her upset stomach even worse. She made a full recovery.
Ellie’s owners, Robert and Sandra Coe, will receive a bronze trophy in the shape of a ham as well as a gift basket full of doggie toys and treats, VPI announced this week.
The VPI Hambone Award is named in honor of a VPI-insured dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham before someone opened the door and found the dog inside, with a mild case of hypothermia.
This year’s second place honors went to Aubie, a border collie from Birmingham, Alabama, who wanted to meet (or eat) the mailman so badly he leapt through a closed living room window. The leap shattered the glass and left Aubie with a cut front leg that required 40 stitches.
“Aubie’s never been enamored with the mailman,” said owner, Sharman Martin.
Third place went to a West Highland white terrier named Darci, who attacked her owner’s running chainsaw. The chainsaw cut two small holes into Darci’s muzzle and she underwent five hours of surgery.
Additional nominees for the 2010 VPI Hambone Award included a boxer that chased and caught a moving delivery van by biting into one of its tires, a standard poodle with a taste for dirty diapers, and a Jack Russell terrier that suffered injuries from wrestling with a lizard.
All pets considered for the award made full recoveries and received insurance reimbursements for their medical care.
(Photo: Courtesy of VPI)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accidents, animals, ate, aubie, award, beaten, beehive, bees, border collie, california, claims, darci, dogs, eaten, ellie, finalist, ham, hambone, hambone award, health, hive, insurance, labrador, labrador retriever, nominees, pet, pets, retriever, robert coe, safety, sandra coe, santee, trophy, unusual, veterinary, veterinary pet insurance, vpi, west highland terrier
A West Highland terrier who attacked a buzzing chainsaw has recovered from her injuries and is now in the running for the Hambone Award, presented annually by Veterinary Pet Insurance.
Darci, a 2-year-old terrier, had a history of lunging at the vacuum cleaner and lawnmower, according to her owner, Barbara Abell, of Belleville, Ill. “She never actually touched them, but she would lunge at them,” Abell says.
Last month, though, Abell’s husband was using a chainsaw to cut up a fallen branch in the family’s backyard when Darci lunged and bit the running saw. Abell rushed Darci to an emergency clinic, where she received four stitches and was sent home.
“By the next day, she was back to her feisty self,” said Abell, who advised pet owners not to assume their pets will keep their distance from dangerous equipment — even if they always have.
Darci’s onwers filed a claim with VPI, their insurer. Of more than 8,000 claims received in June by VPI, Darci’s was judged the most unusual of the bunch. As a result, Darci’s in the running for the 2010 VPI Hambone Award.
Each month, VPI employees nominate the most interesting claim submitted. In August, the public will vote on line for the winner of the Hambone Award, named after a dog that got stuck in a refrigerator and ate an entire Thanksgiving ham while waiting for someone to find him.
The dog was eventually found, with a licked-clean hambone and a mild case of hypothermia. Like all dogs nominated, he recovered fully.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 14th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, attack, attacked, award, bit, chainsaw, claims, darci, hambone, insurance, lawnmower, ohmidog!, pet, pets, stitches, treatment, unusual, vacuum cleaner, veterinary, veterinary pet insurance, vpi, west highland terrier
A 9-year-old wire fox terrier named Ronnie was named Los Angeles “Hero Dog of the Year” this week for chasing off a coyote — a feat I’m guessing he accomplished while OFF HIS LEASH and BARKING.
Ronnie — who lives in Orange County with owners Janis and Eric Christensen and their two other dogs — placed himself between a coyote and Janis, who was holding another of the family’s dogs, when the coyote jumped a fence into the Christensens’ backyard last August.
The coyote bit Ronnie; Ronnie bit back, then chased the coyote until it disappeared from view, Eric Christensen told the Orange County Register.
According to the Christensens, such behavior was uncharacteristic: Ronnie’s a shy and laid back dog.
“Ronnie’s personality was such that you wouldn’t think he would spring into action like he did. This shows that treating your pet with love and respect can be returned by an amazing heroic act,” said Madeline Bernstein, president of the spcaLA, which bestowed the honor.
(Photo: Jebb Harris / The Orange County Register)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 6th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, award, barking, california, coyote, dog, dogs, eric christensen, hero, hero dog of the year, janis christensen, leash, los angeles, news, ohmidog!, orange county, pets, ronnie, spcala, wire fox terrier
News that Michael Vick is expected to attend the 32nd annual Ed Block Courage Awards dinner in Baltimore Tuesday has led to a change in the ceremony’s format and an increase in security.
Vick, who was convicted in 2007 of running a dogfighting ring, is one of 32 winners to be honored with the award, which singles out one member of each NFL team for his courage, sportsmanship and inspiration to his community.
Vick’s unanimous selection by his Philadelphia Eagles teammates triggered angry e-mails to the Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, a petition drive and a planned protest by dog lovers and animal welfare activists at the award’s ceremony, to be held at Martin’s West, 6817 Dogwood Road, from 4 to 10 p.m.
More than 100 people have already signed up to protest at the event — a number that could grow as a result of the news that the quarterback will be attending.
In addition to scrapping the long-standing tradition of having the athletes mingle with fans and sign autographs, organizers say they are boosting security, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“We’ve put in place enough [guards] to make sure that our players are safe and that everything runs smoothly.”said Ed Block Courage Award Foundation spokesman Paul Mittermeier.
The Block Award is named for a former team trainer of the Baltimore Colts, who worked for years to help abused children.
Criticism for bestowing the award on Vick has come from groups ranging from animal rights activists to the American Kennel Club. “It is unconscionable that a man who tortured and abused helpless animals be honored by an organization dedicated to ending abuse,” the AKC said.
Vick will be accompanied to the event by Michael Markarian, chief operating officer of the Humane Society of the United States, a group for which the quarterback has made public appearances in recent months, attempting to steer youth away from dogfighting.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 5th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abuse, award, baltimore, ceremony, convicted, conviction, courage, courage award, demonstration, dogfighter, dogfighting, ed block, foundation, honor, increased, inspiration, martin's west, michael vick, news, petition, philadelphia eagles, protest, quarterback, security, sportsmanship, vick, vick protest