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Mobile, Alabama

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Clay Rossi
Clay Rossi
Attorney • (800) 574-4332

Compensation For Your Best Friend

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The old story goes it was Harry Truman who said “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog?” For dog-lovers there is no substitute for the quality  of companionship a canine buddy brings. But what happens when the unthinkable happens and someone or something messes with your best friend.

A breaking news report states that a federal health warning has been issues concerning  Waggin’ Train Chicken Jerky Tenders, a product made in China and distributed by Nestle Purina. (In the interests of  full disclosure, on occasion I’ve bought this product for my dogs in the past. I’ve often wondered how safe pieces of dried chicken breast coming all the way from China were.) What recourse do the pet owners of effected dogs have? To the understanding of the lawyer side of my brain, and to  the abhorrence to the pet owner side, a dog is generally treated by the law as a piece of chattel, no difference that a shovel or chair or a television set. You can seek compensation for medical expenditures laid out to take care of old Sparky if he gets sick but if something worse should befall him you can seek (gasp!) replacement value. (Any dog owner will tell you that there is no “replacing” a four-legged family member.)

There are a few states which have recognized a pet owners claim for emotion damages and in certain jurisdictions the possibility of punitive damages exists. A good resource on some of those laws can be found here.

While the  law across the country may not be uniform as to claims available for  injured dogs, it seems that an injured dog is universally a great client of have since, despite the sternest jury charge, no one can help but have an emotional response to their plight and want to aid them to the fullest extent the law will allow.