Kennel owner released my 2 American pit mixes unleashed...

by Donna
(Columbus, Ohio)

The Kennel where I boarded my dogs was negligent when I went to pick up my dogs. While I waited in the lobby, holding both of their collars and leashes, the owner went to the back of the kennel and just opened the door where she had them kenneled. I had no warning they were being let out that way.

The owner had two cats and a little dog in the lobby. The result was one dead cat. The owner was laying on the floor screaming and I was trying to capture the dogs, which she had failed to feed all day long. It was a terrible experience.

The owner called me to apologize and took responsibility. However, after that time my dogs were different. They became more aggressive. We took them to a behavior specialist, and the end result was that we had to put one of the dogs to sleep. The other is doing well and adjusted.

My question is, should I file a lawsuit for negligence against the Kennel? The dogs should never have been left without food all day, then just released without collars or any type of restraint. The lobby was open for anyone to come in. The owner was extremely upset, called and left a message crying and apologizing. What can I do? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Kennel owner released my 2 American pit mixes unleashed...":

Donna (Columbus, Ohio):

While it appears the kennel owner was negligent in permitting the dogs to run out unto the reception area, and for failing to properly feed them, that negligence didn't appear to have caused you any real "damages."

When persons’ acts or omissions result in property damage or personal injuries to others, referred to as "third parties," those third parties may have a right to seek compensation, or "damages," from the person whose acts or omissions caused that property damage or personal injuries.

Damages can include reimbursement for medical and therapy bills, out of pocket expenses (for such items as medications, bandages, costs of travel to treatment, etc.), lost wages, and pain and suffering. In your case, while the environment was certainly chaotic, there is no evidence the negligent acts of the kennel owner caused you to have sustained damages.

You may be able to claim a financial loss (i.e. property damage) for the cost of the dog you had to put to sleep, but you would not be able to claim any pain, suffering, or emotional distress. It may sound callous to think of our pets as property, but that's how the law views them for purposes of restitution.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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