How much is your family pet worth? For a lot of Coloradans, our pets are priceless, an undeniable member of our families. But according to the law, pets are property, no different from your car or couch (although much better at playing catch). But a recent Colorado court ruling is challenging that idea.
‘Animals should be considered family members, not just property… The legal system is starting to come into line with the way people feel about their pets.’ This from the Denver Animal Law Center attorney who helped a client get awarded $65,000 after her dog was killed last August.
On August 17th a Colorado woman left her house to run errands while a maid service came over to clean her home. She claims that she asked the service if it would be alright for her to leave her 18-month-old dog in the house while they cleaned – they said it was.
Depending on whose side of the story you hear, the details of what happened next varies, but what is certain is that at some point the dog got out of the house where she was hit by a car. The dog ran back inside and hid under the dining room table, and this is where the homeowner found her when she got back from the grocery store.
‘I… found her underneath the dining room table, dead. There was no phone call, no note,’ the owner said. The maid service, Posh Maids, refute that statement, claiming that they tried to get a hold of the woman and tried to approach the dog, but the dog growled aggressively – they have a policy to leave any home with an aggressive dog.
The owner of the dog sued the company for negligence that lead to the death of her pet claiming that the loss caused emotional distress to her and her daughter, who viewed the dog almost as a younger sister. ‘They were just so close and such a part of each other,’ she said.
A judge agreed and after the owner of Posh Maids failed to show at the hearings the family was awarded $65,118 plus interest, maybe the largest amount ever for the death of a pet in Colorado. ‘The money doesn’t take away the impact this has had on both myself and my daughter,’ the woman said.
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Source. ABC News, “http://abcnews.go.com/US/colorado-woman-awarded-65000-dogs-wrongful-death/story?id=16180328#.T5Ws8VFSTB0,” Christina Ng, April 20, 2012.