The outdated legal view of dogs as easily-replaceable “property” — worth no more than you paid for them — is slowly beginning to catch up with the times.
The latest indication of a change in judicial thinking came last week when California’s Second District Court of Appeals ruled that pets are fundamentally different than other forms of property.
“Given . . . the reality that animals are living creatures, the usual standard of recovery for damaged personal property — market value — is inadequate when applied to injured pets,” Justice Kathryn Doi Todd wrote in her opinion.
She added, “Animals are special, sentient beings, (and) unlike other forms of property, animals feel pain, suffer and die.”
The Court of Appeals ruling came in the consolidated cases of two pet owners — one whose dog was shot by a neighbor, and one whose dog was injured by veterinary negligence. Lower courts had ruled they were entitled to no more than the market value of their pets.
The appeals court decision reversed both cases. The new ruling permits owners of wrongfully injured pets to recover the “reasonable and necessary costs” of treating and caring for an injured animal, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), which had filed amicus briefs in the case.
The first case involved a German Shepherd named Gunner, who was shot by a neighbor and whose leg had to be amputated, costing his family more than $20,000. The second case involved a Golden Retriever named Katie, whose intestine was nicked during a surgical procedure. The vet also left a piece of gauze in her body. The errors led to the dog having to receive emergency surgery that cost Katie’s family more than $37,000.
In both cases, the trial court limited the plaintiffs’ recovery to a fraction of what they spent to nurse them back to health — namely, their dogs’ market value.
“This decision is a significant step forward for companion animals and their guardians,” said Matthew Liebman, ALDF senior attorney. “The legal system is finally starting to catch up with how the majority of people feel about the animals with whom they share their lives.”
Posted by jwoestendiek October 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aldf, animal, animal legal defense fund, appeals, court, courts, dog, dogs, german shepherd, golden retriever, gunner, injuries, judicial, kathryn doi todd, katie, law, lawsuits, legal, market value, pets, property, ruling, value, view, wrongful
Katie, the black Lab adopted Saturday by journalist Cokie Roberts, was found dead today near a Bethesda middle school, apparently having been struck by a car.
Stephen Push, of Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac’s, said Katie had been hit near Thomas W. Pyle Middle School. Her body was found about 9 a.m.
“We are so terribly sad about the news,” Roberts said in a press release.
Push said Katie, about five years old, was identified and pronounced dead at a veterinary clinic.
During the search for Katie, rescuers found another lost dog, which the club has taken in, the Washington Post reports. If no one claims the dog, Push said, the rescue group will place it in a new home.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adopted, animals, bethesda, black lab, cokie, dead, dog, dogs, found, katie, lab, labrador retriever, labrador retriever club of the potomac, lost, maryland, missing, pets, rescue, retriever, roberts
Katie is described as a five-year-old, friendly but shy Lab, solid black except for some gray fur around her muzzle.
She is wearing a collar with a Lab Rescue tag attached.
Roberts lost the dog in Bethesda on Saturday.
There have been several reported sightings since then, the latest of which was yesterday on Thoreau Road in Bethesda, Md., according to the Washington Post.
According to Patch.com, Katie, once a stray, had been living with a foster mother in Reston for several months before she was adopted by Roberts.
“This is a dog that was a stray, and she’s very timid, so her foster mother was working with her for about three months to build up her confidence,” said Stephen Push, a spokesman for the Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac. “She must have been frightened because she was all of a sudden in a new environment. That’s probably why she bolted.”
Roberts has posted fliers around her neighborhood and Lab Rescue , in addition to using tracking dogs to find Katie, is offering a reward and reaching out to the media.
Anyone with information about Katie’s whereabouts can call Lab Rescue at 703-589-5034.
(An update to this story can be found here.)
(Photo of Katie by Carina Thornton / Fuzzypants Pets Photography)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopted, animals, bethesda, black lab, cokie roberts, day, dog, dogs, emmy award, foster, journalist, katie, lab, lab rescue, labrador retriever club of the potomac, lost, missing, pets, rescue, runaway, same, stray