The Value of a Dog’s Love…

– – As those who share life with them can testify, a dog’s love (and that of cats or other animal companions) is priceless.  But to date, such companions have legally been considered property.–Well, the state Supreme Court of Vermont is being asked to consider what a dog’s love is worth…a mixed- breed dog named Shadow.

That court is hearing a case that began in July of 2003 when two people visiting relatives let their dog wander onto a neighbor’s property. The neighbor fired an air gun pellet at the dog in the hopes of scaring it off his property, claiming that he intended to hit the dog in the rear end.  The pellet instead penetrated the dog’s chest and severed his aorta, and he died soon thereafter on route to the vet.

The shooter pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges, a misdemeanor.  He was given a year of probation,  ordered to perform 100 hours of community service, and pay a $4,000 fine in restitution to the dog’s owners. The owners of the dog, however, have pressed a civil case against the shooter, claiming that their dog was more than a piece of property, and that the compensation awarded was inadequate and did not incorporate emotional loss.

Historically, laws across the country have sharply limited the ability of plaintiffs to collect damages for emotional loss.  The same court earlier this year ruled against a plaintiff seeking to collect for emotional distress when a cat’s death resulted from a veterinarian’s medication error.  That case, however, involved negligence whereas in this case the defendant is alleged to have acted with malice and intent when he shot Shadow.

The case accordingly is potentially precedent-setting, and could result in an expansion of animal rights and protection…

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4 Comments on “The Value of a Dog’s Love…”

  1. carycomic Says:

    Whatever happened to just using rock salt fired over the dog’s head?

    Trigger-happy idiot!


  2. wisek9 Says:

    I hope those crazy laws change but Humans’ve enslaved humans for centuries and I think it’d be a while before things change:(

    Thanks for the post.

    Wise Wags,


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