A Florida pet owner is fighting to have Florida laws changed to offer more protection to pets than they currently enjoy. The woman is making the push after she claims her pet dog was hurt while at a veterinarian and later died due to the maltreatment. Her efforts have gained notoriety from the press, and she is being backed by a Florida state senator who will introduce a bill in the next legislative session.
The pet owner’s position is that current Florida laws do not treat family pets any better than property. So if a person is negligent in causing harm or death to a family pet what remedies are available to the pet owner are limited. Of course, there are many hurdles to jump over to get any law changed, but this pet owner is determined to get it done.
Background and Facts
All of these efforts and attention began after a woman picked her dog up from the veterinarian. The dog was scheduled for a routine teeth cleaning. After the woman picked the dog up from the veterinarian, she discovered that the dog was just not itself. Later on, after receiving the treatment, the dog died.
The woman blamed the veterinarian for the dog’s death and brought a lawsuit against him for her losses. During the lawsuit the woman and her legal team obtained video footage of the dog being forced on a table with a person sitting on top the dog so they could clean his teeth. After the treatment the video shows the dog trembling and limping.
Florida Laws, Remedies, and Issues
As it stands now, Florida law treats a pet as any other kind of property. As a result, the remedies that a person can sue for are limited. For example, if the woman’s allegation in this story are true, she will not be able to sue the veterinarian for wrongful death or negligence because those claims are reserved for human and not pet life.
In many ways it is our language itself that limits how pets are viewed. For example, we refer to pet caretakers as owners, just as if they were property. That makes it difficult for the law to consider pets as anything more than property. But on the other hand, Florida does have laws against animal cruelty when we do not have laws against being cruel to other types of property. So it could be concluded that the law and social conscious are very much in flux on this issue.
Time will tell whether the law changes in the future to allow for more remedies against those that treat dogs and other pets wrongfully or negligently. For now, owners of pets will need to get behind legislative changes if they want to see a change.
Panama City Area Accident and Injury Attorney
At The Pittman Firm we do not practice this kind of law, but it does interact with personal injury law in general. When it comes to human interactions of every kind, each of has a duty at act reasonably and safely. When negligent acts cause harm to another the negligent actor should be liable for the damages they case. Our firm is dedicated to recovering just and reasonable compensation for the victims of negligence, wrongful death, product liability, and other acts causing harm. If you have been involved in an accident and been injured, contact us.
See related blog posts: Florida Supreme Court Wrestles With Contempt Issue; Tragic Event Leads to Lawsuit.