For all you pet owners in California, you can finally collect emotional damages for injuries to your pet!

According to a ruling by the California court of appeals, pet owners in California can now collect damages for the injuries intentionally inflicted on their pets.  In a lawsuit brought by the Plotnik family against their neighbor, Meihaus, the Plotniks claimed that Meihaus had hit their dog with a baseball bat, causing the dog damages requiring $2,600 worth of surgery.  Meihaus lost an appeal and was required to pay the Plotniks $160,000 in damages plus over $93,000 in attorney fees caused by the intentional injuries to the dog.

Are Pets Considered Personal Property or More?

Most states consider pets as the personal property of the owner.  This means that when an owner’s pet is injured, the owner can sue to recover damages to their property (their pet).  The computation used by the courts to determine the amount of damages to award the pet owner is the Market Value of the pet.  So, if your 16 year old mixed breed untrained dog is injured, you probably won’t collect too much money.  This is based on the idea that there aren’t too many buyers out there looking to buy a 16 year old untrained mutt, which makes its market value minimal.  The problem with this computation is that it accounts for no sentimental value, which can often be considerable.

Should all States Allow Owners to Recover Damages and Loss of Companionship?

Lately there have been many suits brought attempting to have pets treated as more than just personal property.  In my opinion, pets are more than mere personal property.  They hold a special place in people’s lives and tend to bring joy and happiness to families of all kinds.  One suffers a great deal of heartache when they see their pet injured, or when their pet dies because of the intentional abuse of another.  Often the heartache suffered can reach a level similar to that brought on by the loss of a human loved one.  However, the same sort of relief is not provided for pet owners when they lose a pet.  Since owners and pets have a companionship relationship, they should be compensated when they are intentionally deprived of this companionship.

States that Allow for Emotional Damages for an Injured Pet:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Texas

Have you ever lost a pet because of the intentional wrongdoing of another?  Each state has specific laws relating to pet laws, so if you have a question, click here  to find Pet Law attorneys near you.

For quick answers, click here to visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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