DAMAGES IN DOG-BITE AND OTHER ANIMAL-RELATED LITIGATION Joan Schaffner 1

Introduction Classification of Damages Compensatory Damages Loss to the Animal Loss to the Owner Economic Property Loss Common Law Statutory Law Noneconomic Loss Common Law Property Loss Personal Loss Statutes Animals Covered Conduct Establishing Liability Damages Allowed Exemptions Punitive Damages

Associate Professor of Law, George Wshington University Law School, Director, Animal Law Program. May 2013. A version of this paper will be published in the Mid-Atlantic Lyceum.

1

1

breeding potential. The law regarding damages for the injury caused by animals to humans. Some states limit the value of an animal to their fair market value. to the shelter worker who “accidentally” places a dog on the kill list in the shelter. They range from the most heinous cases of a person deliberately and maliciously killing an animal. 2 A third function. pain and suffering. Economic damages are damages that may be objectively measured in monetary terms–for example the fair market value of an animal. to the police officer who shoots a dog without cause. lost companionship or to punish. Animals are deemed personal property under the law of every state and this classification dictates the damages available. the inherent nature of damages may be classified as either economic or noneconomic. First. to the pet food manufacturer that markets tainted food and kills thousands of animals. Thus for example. killing the dog before their owner is able to reclaim him. The following will discuss the various types of damages that may be awarded for the injury or death to an animal. Determining the proper damages to be awarded for the injury or death of an animal under the law is important both to provide proper compensation to the owner for their loss and to provide the proper incentive for persons to act with care to avoid harming animals. The situations that may give rise to such cases are far-ranging. others allow for veterinary expenses that exceed the animals’ fair market value whether the animal is injured or killed. controversial. is no different than any other case in which a human is injured by the tortious conduct of another. Classification of Damages Fundamentally.Introduction Damages in dog-bite and other animal-related private-law litigation may involve personal injury to humans caused by animals as well as injury to animals caused by other animals or humans. including physical injury. Noneconomic damages are damages that are intangible and thus not easily measured in monetary terms–for example damages for emotional distress. Dogs may injure humans. Restitutionary damages are designed to prevent the unjust enrichment of the defendant resulting from their wrongful conduct. is not specifically discussed here as they are not directly relevant to the debate over the proper damages for the loss of a companion animal. damages are designed to serve two functions–compensation and punishment. damages are classified by two characteristics: their inherent nature and the functions they serve. These are just a few examples of the variety of cases that result in injury or death to a human or animal and for which the wrongdoer may be held liable for damages. Some jurisdictions allow for the actual value to the owner. However. There are a seemingly endless variety of cases where humans harm animals. or death. the owner could recover not only the dog but the profits defendant received from showing the dog. The focus of this article is on the proper compensation for the loss of an animal who is injured or killed by the defendant. while others may allow for the owner’s emotional distress or punitive damages if the animal is killed by the intentional act of another. or may get into a fight with another dog or cat and injure or kill them. and of specific interest in the area of animal law. In such a situation the defendant. restitution. if a defendant wrongfully took a show dog from the owner and received money from showing the dog. Second. which may include sentimental or intrinsic value of the animal. emotional distress. the law regarding damages for the injury or death to an animal is in flux. pain and suffering. and the cost for veterinarian services or special training of the animal. to the veterinarian who negligently treats an animal causing injury or death to the animal. 2 2 .

For example. We recognize that animals can and do suffer pain or distress. however. 1891)).E. and “some special or pecuniary [economic] value to the owner. but the evidentiary problems with such issues are obvious. in Oberschlake v.W. Compensatory Damages Loss to the Animal The animal does not have separate standing under the law to seek damages thus no court has allowed recovery for the animal’s pain and suffering. the vet tried to spay her although she had already been spayed as a puppy. . Compensatory damages are calculated based on the value of the loss to the injured parties–here. 3 Petco v.g. 4 See e. 931. however. while under anesthesia. 705 P. veterinary costs. Poopi’s owners sought recovery for Poopi’s own emotional distress of being “wrongfully spayed” twice.” 3 If the animal is injured. the owner and the animal.g. the recovery is the difference between the FMV before and after the harm or the costs to repair.-Austin 2004) (citing Heiligmann v. if any. punitive damages are noneconomic in nature. 4 Courts have recognized generally. Sukaro 3 . for example to act reasonably under the tort system. App. Nichols v. e. Generally.” Id. 16 S. Fairbanks North Star Borough. Punitive damages generally are allowed only when the wrongdoer acted with malice. Ct. Animal Hospital. is a function of the compensatory damages for which the alleged wrongdoer will be held responsible if found liable. 785 N. The level of culpability of the wrongdoer is irrelevant to the measurement of compensatory damages.2d 454 (Alaska 1985). 560 (Tx app.Compensatory damages are the most common function for damages in a civil suit and are designed to compensate individuals for their loss and to regulate behavior by establishing the proper level of incentive to avoid harm. The level of incentive to comply with the law. a dog cannot recover for emotional distress–or indeed for any other direct claims of which we are aware. Courts also may award the veterinary costs and cost of cremation or burial when the animal is killed. The court stated succinctly: “Although Poopi was obviously directly involved in the incident. Loss to the Owner Economic Property Loss Common Law The owner may recover the property loss of their animal which traditionally is the fair market value (FMV). As a result. at 814.W. Some courts. the recovery for injury to the pet is the cost of veterinary treatment. Compensatory damages may be economic or noneconomic in nature. that may be ascertained by reference to the dog’s usefulness and services of the dog. 144 S. Richardson v. 932 (Tex.2d 811 (Oh. will not have gained financially from their wrongful conduct and thus restitution is not relevant. limit the total amount of the recovery to the animal’s FMV. 2003). Schuster. Poopi’s owners took her to the vet to have her teeth cleaned. Thus punitive damages are calculated based on an evaluation of the level of culpability of the wrongdoer and what amount is necessary to serve the goals of deterrence and punishment for this defendant and others. The purpose of punitive damages is to deter egregious conduct and punish the wrongdoer. Thus. not viable. Rose. Veterinary Assoc.3d 554. the claims on Poopi’s behalf were . .

W. and for microchip implantation ($52. courts generally refuse to compensate for the loss of future progeny as too speculative but may include the animal’s breeding potential in the valuation of the lost animal. if the animal is pedigreed and/or used to breed. or the animal provides special services to a disabled owner. of course. Statutes States with statutes providing for damages for the injury or death of a pet or companion animal may limit recovery to economic damages. . or other similar expense. Soucek v. and was ultimately killed in traffic. 555 N. the economic loss is considerable and recoverable if properly supported with evidence of such loss. the dogs could be expected to breed once per year and produce six to eight puppies. App. Hamel. owned by the Hamels.40). It is difficult to establish potential future earnings from the animal. The court denied Schuster lost wages she incurred while searching for Licorice ($857. In the case of animals used for breeding. 61 A. For example. Licorice. The statute defines “pet” as a domesticated animal but excludes livestock and allows for compensatory damages when another tortiously causes an injury or death to a pet. . The owner recovered the replacement value (FMV) of Licorice ($500).W. and registered with reputable clubs. respectively. For example. Code § 3.L. in Maryland. Banham. 886 S. Proc. Other losses that may be recoverable include reimbursement for money spent on the animal for training. Schuster. 1994). Additional consequential damages that an owner may incur include the costs for searching for the animal and caring for the animal. her expenses to send Licorice to training school ($892). 144 S.-Austin 2004). including lost wages or hired home care. purebred. The court upheld the trial court’s damage award of $1825 as legally and factually sufficient.W. The court allowed the introduction of the evidence to assess the value of the two dogs themselves but disallowed recovery for prospective progeny. a 14-month-old miniature schnauzer. slipped her leash and ran away from a Petco employee who had taken her out for a bathroom break during her grooming. Ct. In Petco v.3d 554 (Tx app. defines all dogs and cats as personal property and allows recovery for “the value thereof or the damage done thereto in an appropriate action at law . Virginia.) 1994). There are.68) stating that such damages are recoverable only for personal injury claims not for damage to property. The statute defines compensatory damages for the death of a pet as the “fair market value of the pet before death and the reasonable and necessary cost of veterinary care” and for injury to the pet as the “reasonable and necessary cost of veterinary care. 4 . micro-chipping. § 11110 governs damages for the injury or death of a pet.2d 478 (Minn.W. a consequential loss to the owner may include the lost income likely to have been received by the owner from the animal. cases where the animal is economically valuable. on the other hand. Md. in Bueckner v. and the market price for the puppies. evidence of past income received and demonstration of the likelihood of continued income may suffice. In this case the dogs had not yet been bred. and Jud.R. two and three years old.2d 689. For example.5th 883 (Iowa 1996).” Va.2d 368 (Tx app. Nevada expressly disallows recovery for punitive or other noneconomic damages for the injury or death Kennels. the defendant shot a dalmation and Australian shepherd.that limiting recovery to FMV generally provides minimal compensation because most pets have little or no market value.-Houston (1st Dist. Code Cts. however.2-6585. they had already picked out a male for the Australian shepherd.” The statute limits compensatory damages to $7500. Both dogs were relatively young. . Further. The Hamels introduced evidence that they had purchased the dogs with the intent to breed them. 524 N.

2006.000 emotional distress for killing of plaintiff's cat by defendant's dog). . James.2d 285 (N. Sup.KNT (July 10. Other courts. Westerhold v.2d 472. King Cy. $15.W. 45-9514 (May 2. 478-89 (Ill. Noneconomic Loss Common Law Property Loss Most jurisdictions refuse to include noneconomic damages as a component of the animal’s “intrinsic value. 6502476 (Nov. The Medlen court stated that such special value “may be derived from the attachment that an owner feels for his pet. App. No.3d 576 (Ct App. and emotional distress resulting from dog attack on dog in the sum of over $15. No. Brousseau v. 2006.S.480.000 emotional distress for killing of plaintiff's cat by defendant's dog). or any other theory. No. $75. Whatcom Cy. Van de Ven v. 443 N. Strickland. Rosenthal. Dist. Ct. while undeniable. 5 Such recognition generally is consistent with the jurisdiction’s property damage scheme whereby they recognize the “sentimental or intrinsic” value of certain types of property. 2006. The Texas Supreme Court disagreed and held that “the human-animal bond.g.” 353 S. when such property otherwise has no market value. Ct.700 for value of cat killed by dog).) (allowing intrinsic value and loss of use). Kitsap Cy. Darvas.” However. Ct. § 41. no matter how it is conceived in litigation–as a measure of property damages . settled for $6. J) (default judgment. a few jurisdictions recognize the sentimental or intrinsic value of the animal to the owner based on the special bond and companionship shared between the animal and the owner. 2013. Tex-Ft Worth 2011) awarding the plaintiff the intrinsic companionship value of Avery. Linde. 826 N. 2005. Ct. 16 S. Haberly. Strickland v. 38 COA2d 281 (Updated March 2013) presents select representative awards made and settlements reached in litigation in Washington State to recover for the injury or death of an animal by an animal. Rose. 353 S.000). Rev. On April 5. Nev. Daniel Warner. Costa. 2005. their dog. 06-2-01591-8 (Nov. 2006. 05-2-31243.) (accepting claims for loss of companionship. Gray. Linde. Sup. No.). as a personal-injury claim for loss of companionship or emotional distress. 5 5 . No. Sup.” Id. Roemer v. 7. 1980).12 for $30.000 intrinsic value/loss of use and $25. 2013 WL 1366033 (Tex. The Fort Worth court reviewed 120 years of Texas case law since the Texas Supreme Court case of Heiligmann v. The court explained that to allow intrinsic value for inanimate property such as heirlooms but not for sentient companion “property” is illogical and held that the “special value of ‘man’s best friend’ should be protected. Hardt. noting that such value may include noneconomic value. J. Civ.W. arbitrator) (awarding $6. the Texas Supreme Court reversed the Fort Worth appellate court’s decision in Medlen v.W. Ct. Ct. Lababit.E. J. Lewis. Linde.740. Stat. comment e (1965) that market value is an insufficient measure of damages for the loss of a pet. Medlen. J. 2005).09 for $50. have awarded actual value to the owner.501.of an animal. 20. Karp in Cause of Action for Loss of or Injury to Animal by an Animal. intrinsic value depreciation. Long v. 05-2-02686-0 (July 21. King Cy. 20.) (default judgment. Ct. Hane v.Y. Ct. Zauper v. 6 See e. agreeing with the Restatement (Second) of Torts § 911. Kragness. 1891) in which the court noted that dogs “were of a special value to the owner” that exceeded market value. King Cy.3d at 580.) (allowing intrinsic value and loss of use in case of cat killed by two dogs. is uncompensable. . Dist.000 intrinsic value/loss of use. King Cy. No.” 2013 WL 1366033 at *10. Anzalone v. 931 (Tex. at 581. 6 Personal Loss A few courts allow the owner to recover for their own emotional injury caused by the loss of their pet under a theory of intentional infliction of emotional distress while virtually all jurisdictions decline to Adam P. such as heirlooms. Dist. 45-6392 (Feb.Y.500). J. $45.

360 So. Heinrichs. 2002) (“Simply because a claim involves an animal does not preclude a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.2d 182. 812-13 (Ky.R. For less outrageous conduct the owner must base their claim on negligent infliction of emotional distress which is quite limited as it generally requires that the plaintiff. 695 P. 311 (Alaska 2001) (acknowledging “a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress for the intentional or reckless killing of a pet animal”). 44 S. 12-0047 (Texas. Corso v. and be considered a factor in measuring a person’s emotional distress damages. mental anguish and despondency due to wrongful destruction and loss of [her] dog’s body”).5th 545. Nev.2d 1276. Ct. La Porte v. in the Florida case of Knowles Animal Hospital v. Illinois. 2013) (citing Womack v.2d 1246. App. 2009 WL 3303733. Strickland v. Peloquin v. Welty.”). 1964) (“we feel that the affection of a master for his dog is a very real thing and that the malicious destruction of a pet provides an element of damage for which the owner should recover.2d 37 (Fla. 1985) (recognizing cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress for killing pet). App. Jan. 7 This is so because such claims typically are available only for the loss of a close human family member and/or when the plaintiff was within the zone of danger. 1979) (damages for destruction of plaintiff’s cat include “awards for mental anguish. at 38-39. Ct. see also Ammon v.3d 806. Burgess v.000 finding proof that the hospital displayed “great indifference to the property of the plaintiff. 1979) (“we think the more enlightened view is to allow recovery for emotional distress in the instance of the malicious destruction of a pet”). Recovery of Damages for Emotional Distress Due to Treatment of Pets and Animals. 163 So.”).App. Pl. App.. e. 8 For example. humiliation.S.3d 94. Note that damages for emotional distress or lost companionship here are sought under claims for personal-injury. App. 9 Amicus Curiae Brief of the No Kill Advocacy Center in Support of Respondents Kathryn and Jeremy Medlen.4th 7 6 . etc. 367 So. 135 P.. Ct.3d 542. Historically courts denied recovery for emotional distress when the plaintiff suffered no physical injury. Calcasieu Parish Police Jury..3d 309.” Id. Mitchell v.g.2d at 456 (recognizing cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress for killing pet).. negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress and not under a claim for property loss. (2012) (collecting cases). 705 P.2d 267. 695 P. & C. 1979) (awarding damages for plaintiff’s “shock. Medlen. Ct. App. Inc. App.1277 (Idaho Ct. the dog was severely burned after being left unattended on a heating pad for well over 24 hours. 13. be within the zone of danger and witness the injury or death of a human family member. Several jurisdictions have allowed recovery for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Craig.W. 113 S. Lied Animal Shelter. 1985) (permitting claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress based on defendant’s shooting of plaintiff’s donkey).2d 1276. Thompson v. Jan. Gill v. No. Medlen. 2006) (“[W]e hold malicious injury to a pet can support a claim for. 10 Pa. 2009) (noting claim for “the value of the dog plus damages for emotional harm” and permitting claim to proceed based on professional negligence)). 2013) (citing McMahon v.W. following an operation. 97 (Pa. 27 P. as bystander. Claims for emotional distress are of recent vintage and controversial even when compensating for human injury. 176 Cal. Gill v.” conduct that is intolerable in a civil society and that results in severe emotional injury that no reasonable person would be expected to endure. 1251 (La. as well as special and/or actual damages”). No. 9 One state. App. 13. 183 (N.Y. 2001) (affirming award of compensatory and punitive damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress for conversion and slaughter of plaintiff’s horses).L. Crawford Dog & Cat Hosp. Banasczek v. 91 A. Associated Indeps. Strickland v. 8 Amicus Curiae Brief of the No Kill Advocacy Center in Support of Respondents Kathryn and Jeremy Medlen. 415 N. Zitter. 546 (Wa. Civ.. 12-0047 (Texas. allows for recovery of See generally M. The dog ultimately was euthanized. Taylor.award damages for negligent infliction of emotional distress. Oct. 1277 (Idaho Ct.3d 185. Von Rardon. Wills. 267-69 (Fla. Kowalski. irrespective of the [market] value of the animal”). Courts generally do not allow for the recovery of negligent infliction of emotional distress. The court awarded Wills $13. Ct. Richardson. Com.Y. 188 (Ky. D. Brown. at *6 (D. Brown. Inc. 1978). 14. In 1948 the Restatement (2d) of Torts first recognized the separate tort for the intentional infliction of emotional distress which is characterized by “outrage.

Ct. 30.3d at 187-88 (rejecting existence of loss-of-consortium claim. Kondaurov v. 11 Last year the New Jersey Supreme Court expressly addressed this issue in McDougall v.3d 312 (N. Div.2d 153.2d 797. 163-64 (Min. Pacher v. VCA Animal Hosp.2d 1121. they would not allow recovery for emotional distress caused by observing the traumatic death of their pet. App. Harabes v. City of Hartford.W.” and expressly not reaching whether emotional-distress damages may be recovered by “persons who suffer the loss of a companion animal”). 7 .J. App. Angel. 1995) (holding statute did not permit “emotional trauma” damages and rejecting claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress). 1993) (no proof of negligent infliction of emotional distress and expressly not reaching intentional infliction of emotional distress). Kennedy v.E.. Banham. Byas. and noting that plaintiff had already been awarded $1. 2009) (rejecting intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress claim in veterinary context). 503 N. Ct.W. In McDougall. Ct.W. 627 N.J. 203. 10 Nevertheless. Nichols v. 2006) (rejecting claim for emotional distress of automobile-accident victim due to concern over dog in vehicle at the time and noting that Virginia— unlike Texas—bars sentimental-value damages for the loss of any property including family heirlooms).2d 795. Ct..2d 1286. 1981) (not involving any claim for emotional-distress damages or sentimental value of pet. 1125-26 (Ohio Ct. Soucek v. 2002) (noting that plaintiff only advanced claims for “emotional distress and loss of companionship and society. Ct. Stansell. Ct.2d 731. Hill. Holbrook v. Jan. App. 13. 2001) (holding public policy bars negligent infliction of emotional distress or loss of companionship for pet. Apr. 113 S. Super. 2002) (denying claim for emotional-distress damages because plaintiff presented no duty other than negligence upon which to attach such damages. Lockett v.2d 912. 12-0047 (Texas.2d 1142. at *2 (Del. 992 A. 2009 WL 1163504.2d 181. Dist.W. 626 (Conn. Kerdasha. 555 N. 913 (R.. even if courts refuse to award damages for emotional distress they may recognize the special value that companion animals provide to their owners.000 in compensatory damages for negligence in mauling of pet cat). aff’d. 2013) (citing Naples v.E. 867 So. Meffen. Miller. 1197-98 (Fla. No. 2009) (rejecting claim for veterinary expenses and “pain and suffering” to owner. holding that plaintiff failed to demonstrate pet cats’ future nervousness as a result of being locked in a room while on vacation).W. Lamm. Ct. McDougall was walking with Angel when the Lamm’s large dog ran out from their house. 791 A. 1509-1517 (Cal. App. but expressly noting that actual value to owner might be recoverable for the loss of beloved pet).W.2d 621. 801-04 (Wis. 2012) holding that while an owner may recover the intrinsic value of their pet as property. 629 S. 2003) (rejecting claim for emotional distress due to injury to property. Myers v. App.” 11 Amicus Curiae Brief of the No Kill Advocacy Center in Support of Respondents Kathryn and Jeremy Medlen. 08C-01-093. 51 P.2d 1237 (Del. Ct. 801-02 (Mo. 2004) (holding pet owner may not recover emotional-distress damages for veterinary malpractice. but noting facts did not present issue of intentional infliction of emotional distress). 853 A. 562 S. City of Racine. 2002) (holding a person “cannot recover for emotional distress from merely witnessing damage to another person’s property”) (emphasis added). 6-8 (Or.2d 209. but holding no intentional misconduct was demonstrated and expressly permitting recovery of veterinary expenses (presumably more than the pet’s market value)). 777 N. and shook her several times 1502.2d 689. App. Maher. App. 2004) (rejecting claim for intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress). Strickland v. App. 211 (Mich. Ct. 624 N. but expressly holding that “[s]imply because a claim involves an animal does not preclude a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress”) (emphasis added). 658 A. 186-87 (Va. Ct. Wright v. Rabideau v. Inc.E. App.3d 5. Super. Krasnecky v.emotional distress via statute. Invisible Fence of Dayton. 619 S. App. a 9-year old maltipoo was killed by defendant’s dog. Rowbotham v. Sukaro Kennels. 798 N. 2001) (barring negligent infliction of emotional distress claim for loss of property but holding that plaintiff failed to prove elements of intentional infliction of emotional distress and expressly not reaching issue of valuation of pet as property). Ammon. 2010). 1144-46 (N. 48 A. Ct. but expressly noting that no willful conduct was alleged and that injured dog’s value as a pet was not diminished). Medlen. Edison.I. but expressly distinguishing case from those involving “malicious” conduct towards pet).E. App. Koester v. 211 N.J. No.2d 1195. 691-92 (Iowa 1996) (rejecting emotional-distress and intrinsic-value damages in pet-injury case. Barkery. 733 (Ga. grabbed Angel by the neck. 1288-89 (Mass. 10 See infra section entitled “State Statutes Allowing Recovery for Noneconomic Damages. 2000) (noting Michigan never permits “damages for emotional injuries allegedly suffered as a consequence of property damage”).

. the Krasneckys sought recovery of emotional distress damages for the killing of their companion sheep by the neighbor’s dog.2d 1286 (Mass. 777 N. She argued however.E.before dropping her and returning to his yard.” conduct establishing liability. Conduct Establishing Liability Illinois limits liability to a person who engages in “an act of aggravated cruelty” as defined under the criminal code or killed by a person acting in bad faith. The court agreed and awarded McDougall $5.” Interestingly. much like heirlooms and family treasures. She described Angel as “friendly. loved member of the family and as such bystander liability should be extended to cover this situation. at least two states have enacted statutes that expressly allow for noneconomic damages for the loss of a pet. App. 2002).” Statutes In recent years. Under Tennessee’s statute a person may 8 . while most cases of companion animals involve dogs or cats. McDougall testified that she paid $200 for Angel as a puppy and that to replace Angel with a “new” puppy would cost approximately $1400. and exemptions from liability. The court however refused to recognize a claim for emotional distress based on McDougall witnessing the traumatic death of Angel.000 recognizing the “intrinsic” value of Angel. In Krasnecky v. which is in some sense voluntary. and in which each party treats the other not just as something entitled to respect and benefit in its own right. are briefly summarized below.3. McDougall argued that companion animals should be recognized as more than property as they are a close. § 44-17-403. bidirectional relationship . but also as an object of admiration. that brings a significant benefit to a central aspect of the lives of each. was highly trained. and Tennessee. that limiting damages to replacement value would not properly compensate her given the close bond she had formed with Angel over the years. or love. The court expressly stated that pets are not fungible and analogized them to property that has special subjective value to their owners. . The statutes of Illinois. marital like bond with another human explaining that such an extension would “elevate the loss of pets to a status that exceeds the loss of all but a few human beings. the court accepted the owner’s characterization of the sheep as companions quoting from Tannenbaum’s Veterinary Ethics which defines companion animal as “any nonhuman animal involved with one or more human beings in a relationship that is at the very least a continuous. lively. 70/16.” Finally. The Court refused to extend bystander liability for witnessing the death of a pet as prior cases have narrowly applied such liability to cases in which the bystander shared a close familial relationship or intimate. neither limiting the owner’s utility of the animal to that of companionship nor the species to dog or cat. courts have recognized that humans may have a companionship relationship with other species of animals as well. the damages allowed. Animals Covered The statutes first establish which animals are covered for purposes of recovery. The basic elements of these statutes are: definition of “pet” or “companion animal. energetic dog” who loved children. Tennessee allows recovery only for a “pet” defined as “any domesticated dog or cat normally maintained in or near the household of its owner. Although rejecting the claims for emotional distress. Meffen. and who was with her much of the time as she worked at home. trust. Illinois allows recovery for any “animal” to which a person has a right of ownership. devotion.

2d 267. 550-51 (Mo. noneconomic damages include “emotional distress suffered by the owner. in Propes v. the fair monetary value of the companion animal. Negligent veterinarians and not-for-profit entities and government agencies while acting on behalf of public health or animal welfare are exempt from liability for noneconomic damages in Tennessee. or negligent. 25 S. Griffith found her neighbor’s two dogs on her property near her sheep although there was no sign that they were chasing or otherwise harming her sheep.” Exemptions The state may also exempt certain actors from specific types of damages. Economic damages allowed include “expenses for veterinary care.3d 544.3d at 812-13 (affirming award of compensatory and punitive damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress for conversion and slaughter of plaintiff’s horses). .La Porte v. 13 Some states via statute expressly allow recovery of punitive damages in limited circumstances. Griffith. California provides “For wrongful injuries to animals . in the case of negligence. Mrs. Conn Stat. committed willfully or by gross negligence. 1964) (affirming an award that included punitive damages). . Punitive Damages Some jurisdictions have awarded punitive damages when a defendant intentionally kills a companion animal. in disregard of humanity. and Illinois allows recovery for punitive damages between $500 and $25000 for the killing of any animal if the defendant acted with bad faith or engaged in acts of aggravated cruelty or torture. 269 (Fla. Griffith. § 22-351a. Associated Indeps. Taylor. Inc. See Burgess v.” In Illinois. Mrs. The court found clear and convincing proof of malicious conduct and awarded the Propes $4000 in punitive damages in addition to actual damages of $2000. state actors and animal-related nonprofits are similarly exempt from liability for punitive damages and attorney’s fees. . 163 So.. . 14 See infra section entitled “State Statutes Allowing Recovery for Noneconomic Damages.recover when their “pet . Damages Allowed Each of these states allows economic and noneconomic damages within certain limits. burial expenses” and “other expenses incurred by the owner in rectifying the effects of the cruelty.” Cal.” 12 9 . Griffith refused an offer to take the dogs to animal control and instead shopped around for a veterinarian who would destroy the two dogs. love and affection of the pet” to five thousand dollars. . 546-47. App. 44 S.W. companionship. pain and suffering of the animal. in a rural community in Missouri.W. . is killed or sustains injuries that result in death caused by the unlawful and intentional. 13 Propes v. 2000). Ill Stat 70/163.” Tennessee limits noneconomic damages to compensate “for the loss of the reasonably expected society. Civil Code § 3340.” Moreover. Veterinarians in Connecticut are exempt from punitive damages and attorney’s fees “while following accepted standards of practice of the profession. 12 For example. exemplary damages may be given. act of another or the animal of another. . and never notified the Propes that she had the dogs or had them killed. Ct.” However. the animal must have suffered the death or injury while on the property of her owner or under the control and supervision of her owner. 14 Connecticut allows recovery for punitive damages for the intentional killing of a companion animal.. lied to the veterinarian about her ownership of the dogs.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful