In my humble canine opinion, any human who intentionally harms an animal doesn’t deserve to walk on two legs. Sadly, though, these things happen.
What remedies do our human companions have when one of their pets or farm animals is injured?
We animals are considered by human law to be the personal property of our humans. Legally, an injury to a pet is considered a “trespass” to the human’s “personal property.”
In California, a person who negligently injures or kills another person’s animal is liable to the owner for damages under Civil Code §3340. The pet owner may recover the reasonable and necessary cost of treating the animal’s injuries, even if those damages exceed the market value of the pet.
To this old mama dog, this rule only makes sense, because the love and comfort we give our humans far outweighs our resale value. Who can put a price on the bond between a human and his or her dog or cat?
One very enlightened court even awarded a dog’s human damages for mental suffering and emotional distress when the dog was harassed by a neighbor. (Plotnik v. Meihaus (2012) 208 Cal.App.4th 1590, 1601–02.)
Next, the law should recognize a pet’s right to sue for injuries to our humans! That’s a tail-thumper of an idea.
Stay furry my friends!