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
The pup, named Romeo, fell into the well — actually a narrow drainage pipe — during the weekend.
After three hours trying to rescue him, firefighters hooked up an industrial-strength vacuum, latched on to Romeo’s leg and hoisted him out, Pittsburgh television station WPXI reported. You can see a video here.
“It was a miracle,” said Assistant Fire Chief Jim Scuffle.
The pup wasn’t breathing when it came came out of the well, but firefighters performed mouth-to-snout resuscitation on the way to veterinarian and Romeo awakened and started to breath on its own.
The veterinarian gave the puppy a clean bill of health.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 31st, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: dogs, firefighters, pennsylvania, pipe, pittsburgh, plum, pup, puppy, rescue, rescued, romeo, save, saved, shih-tzu, vacuum, veterinarian, veterinary, well