It’s about time a judge recognized that one’s beloved pet is worth a lot more than original price paid. A pound pup claims just as much space in our heart. Regardless of whether the dog comes free, or with a hefty pedigree and price tag, we will love it. It will endear itself to us through its innocent pure love and joy for live, it’s antics that amuse, and even the rare illness which causes a sleepless night.
Our pet is part of the family. Sometimes the dearest part, because it’s rare that a pet will disappoint us with neglect, anger, or indifference. And people, well, no one of us is perfect. Not in the eyes of another. But in the eyes of a pet, we are about as perfect as a human gets.
Those of you who visit my site frequently know I’m an animal lover. I devoted a post in tribute to my recently departed black Labrador Retriever. Three other dogs, two cats, and a large number of fish remain. Yet I still feel a strong sense of loss.
A number of years ago I took my first cat to a local groomer. She used chemicals which were specifically marked to never use on cats. She didn’t even wash it off when my cat started to foam at the mouth. When I picked my cat up, the groomer said, “I think I nuked your cat. If she doesn’t stop foaming at the mouth shortly, take her to your vet.” Snowball was soaking wet; stinking from the chemicals. I called the vet and took her immediately, but ultimately she suffered a horrible death which took several days and over two thousand dollars to play out. The groomer tried to deny culpability. Finally, my vet spoke up to let me know that the chemicals used on my cat was used contrary to clear warnings.
Ultimately, the groomer paid the vet bills. But even though I was devastated by the loss, which haunts me still, I was not entitled to recover anything for that. The groomer remained unapologetic regarding my loss.
So you can understand why I’ve always felt it unjust that pets are deemed to have no more sentimental value than a coffee table, when they are killed as a result of someone’s thoughtless negligence. Now, perhaps, the scales of justice are tipping toward the beating heart.
I just read a post in Animal Law Blog about a precedent-setting case: a Colorado judge awarded a Denver woman $65,000 for
the death of her 18-month old dog Ruthie, who was struck by a car after a
cleaning service accidentally let her out. What was particularly egregious was that the cleaning service left the whimpering dying dog under the dining room table, without trying to contact the owner or seek emergency veterinary care.
That’s about as horrifying as it gets. At least from a pet owner’s viewpoint. It’s been over 15 years since Snowball was “nuked” and I still get a tightness in my chest and a tear in my eye when I remember her. Especially when I remember how awful her death was. Ruthie’s owner will probably never erase this memory.
My appreciation and tip of the hat for a significant step forward in justice and equity goes to Judge Eric Elliff. On behalf of pet lovers everywhere, thank you.