Woman awarded $45,000 for cat killed by neighbor's dog

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by emw, May 9, 2005.

  1. emw macrumors G4

    emw

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    #1
    Link.

    While I can understand the distress of losing a pet (I've lost a few myself), if you become a chain smoker as a result of losing your 12-year old cat, you've got other problems.
     
  2. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #2
    That is just so wrong. Even Judge Wapner would agree with me. The woman is entitled to the greater of either the replacement cost of the cat or its fair market value. Possibly treble damages if she can prove malice or extreme negligence.
     
  3. Sutekidane macrumors 6502a

    Sutekidane

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    #3
    That must've been a really SPECIAL cat if it was worth $30,000
     
  4. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #4
    Just more evidence that juries in US court cases are mostly populated with idiots who aren't smart enough to get out of jury duty and, therefore, are stupid enough to make moronic decisions like this one. It doesn't help that the judge obviously is too stupid to set aside the jury's decision.

    (As you can see, my disdain for juries and judges is virtually limitless.)
     
  5. emw thread starter macrumors G4

    emw

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    #5
    If only this would have been the case when I was a kid. Our cat was run over by a Pepsi truck - talk about deep pockets. I could still be living off of that trust fund. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Roger1 macrumors 65816

    Roger1

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    #6
    I think the amount awarded was excessive. However, the owner of the dog did time for repeated animal control violations. I think the judge was sending a message for people to keep their animals locked up.
     
  7. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #7
    Then fine him for having the animals out and risking a catastrophe, etc.

    Awarding excessive amounts of money to someone is not a just solution. Its not a lawful solution.
     
  8. clayj macrumors 604

    clayj

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    #8
    Ay-yi-yi. It's so sad that people in the US (and in other countries, too) have forgotten that ACCIDENTS HAPPEN. Everyone's out to sue everyone else for anything that might trouble them.

    In this case, the dog owner certainly should have been fined (to be paid to the government for breaking the law), and compensation of a fair amount should have been paid to the cat owner. But to claim that they started CHAIN SMOKING because of the trauma of the incident? If I were the judge (and they should be thankful that I am not), I'd order the cat owner taken out back, beaten senseless with a baseball bat, and then forcibly deported to Myanmar.
     
  9. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #9
    Ironic that the jury system designed to protect the defendant is now skewed against them.

    Where you only have to sway/buy off one moron instead of 12...

    In theory they aren't supposed to do that here. For all the loathing spewed out on Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas they do their best to follow the law as it was written. Their answer is often don't come whining to us. Congress wrote the law, get them to fix it. They even rule that way when its obvious that they have a great distaste for the outcome of the decision.
     
  10. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #10
    1. What if that had been a toddler instead of a cat? What should the penalty be then?

    2. Will a $45,000 judgment against the owner increase or decrease the chances that this dog will ever have the chance to tear up a toddler?

    $45,000 is excessive, even for an animal... my cat is worth that to me, but I'm weird. And for a couple of days after his sister died (sudden renal failure) as a kitten, I smoked more, I'll admit that. But it didn't kick off some life-collapsing chain of events. That's just an unstable person.

    If this judgment money was being given to the humane society, I'd be all for it. I suspect others would, too. I don't like the idea of people profiteering like this, never have. But on the other hand, poorly mastered dogs are a real threat to communities, and they do kill people. Diane Whipple being the obvious recent case. Just because the dog was lucky enough to get it's jaws on a cat and not a person doesn't mean it's any less capable of killing. It's the owner's job to remove that capability, whether by leash or muzzle or full containment.
     
  11. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #11
    It may be too big of a cultural difference for you to see the importance, but American judges must first answer to the Constitution first, then the laws, which were crafted much more recently, and SHOULD be in sync with the Constitution, but often aren't. If our congress makes a law that's blatantly illegal, who's going to stop them? That's what the judicial branch does. They don't truly make laws, but they interpret the Constitution to sometimes decide that a law itself is illegal, and that lawmakers have overstepped their bounds. They protect the people from Congress, in other words.

    If it weren't for the judicial branch, we would have no enforceable Constitution today, and that's a fact.

    Sorry to digress, but this whole "judges make laws" idea is getting spread too much :)
     
  12. emw thread starter macrumors G4

    emw

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    #12
    My dogs killed some rabbits a while back. In fact, a couple of times - once on Easter :eek:. Should I now be afraid they'll go off and eat my neighbors kid? I don't think so.

    While I agree that owners should take reasonable precautions with their pets, and that if a dog exhibits aggressive behavior towards people, they should be dealt with appropriately, I'm not sure that a dog killing a cat is necessarily a good indication of latent tendencies to attack people.
     
  13. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

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    #13
    Toddlers I hear are worth about a quarter mill. The answer is probably an even million.

    I doubt it would. the $45k would probably be covered by home owners insurance. The person would likely never really feel the bite...

    Even?!?

    Its a question of the animals objective value. Yes you would gladly pay large sums of money to the doctor to keep your cat alive(same concept really) but the law says that you are entitled to what it would take to get an equivalent cat.

    How about using the money to fund an animal control officer to make sure that people have their pets properly restrained?
     
  14. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

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    #14
    A dog is a deadly weapon, same as a gun-- Just because a gun hasn't shot someone before doesn't mean it can't, or that it doesn't have the propensity. It wouldn't be legal to leave a gun out in the street, "just because it hasn't killed anyone yet". I'm sorry, but I have to take the opinion, if your dog is large enough to take a person, you've got a responsibility to make sure that doesn't happen.

    Now I am making a lot of assumptions here, admittedly, I haven't even seen a picture of the dog, or know what breed it is... if it's a tiny beagle or something, then obviously it couldn't hurt a person. And if a dog destroyed a cat but couldn't reasonably hurt a person? Well then yes, a cat's barely considered legal property, so the law doesn't give much leeway (except in the insane world of punitive damages)... which is something I wish would change, although the proposed laws allowing vets to be sued for wrongful death are misguided, as they'll raise the cost of animal health care exponentially. Thankfully no place (outside of maybe west hollywood) is seriously considering the wrongful death law.
     
  15. emw thread starter macrumors G4

    emw

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    #15
    Not sure I follow that reasoning. I could easily say the same thing about my kids. Sure, they've never killed anyone, but if they got a gun, maybe they would. Therefore I need to make sure my kids are kept away from other people.

    I don't disagree with you on that point, but that wasn't the original comment. Your statement essentially was that since this dog has harmed another animal, it necessarily should be assumed that it would attack a child/person if given the opportunity. I don't agree with that - my dogs have killed other (non-domesticated) animals, but the worst they've done to a person is lick them too much.

    Sure, I've trained my dogs (both Labradors) and I don't let them roam the neighborhood, but I doubt they'd be out hunting for small children if they got loose.
     
  16. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    #16
    gotta love the lawsuit economy that we are building here....
     
  17. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #17
    maybe i'm misinterpreting your point here, but if its common law (as opposed to codified law), blame the british. they started with it, and come 1776, we were all "oooo....the british are so smart (even if they fight like the french and wear bright red)....let's keep their common law tradition around..." anyway, that's why the anglo-colonies are common law based.

    ok, so it isn't exactly like that. but, our common law tradition is older than our country. besides, napoleon was a loser - why would we want to go napoleanic code here? :)
     
  18. MacAztec macrumors 68040

    MacAztec

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    #18
    I'm so sick of hearing about Animals in the courts/news. This is just crap.

    So, you're dog killed the cat. Oh well, they are animals. You have to be sick in the head to take someone to court over that.

    Maybe if the animal killed a human, but a cat (or dog, rabbit, whatever)?

    More money wasted on useless bullsh*t.
     
  19. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

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    #19
    Well, despite the fact that I don't agree with your post, there is one part that I do agree on:
    Damn lawyers. :p
     
  20. tykles macrumors member

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    Colorado
    #20
    You can actually expect things to get worse with situations like this. It's really scary for me- I'll be finishing veterinary school in a year. Currently malpractice insurance for us is like $10 a month. Expect that to rise out of control as 'non-economic' damages are more consistently awarded, and it's going to hit every pet owner out there in terms of skyrocketing veterinary fees, which all go straight to the insurance companies.
    And MacAztec- that's really endearing that you can't possibly recognize any emotional/ethical value in something just because it's not a person, but many people do. And in much the same way you might assign more personal value to a treasured family heirloom (or Powerbook, whatever) than someone to whom it means nothing, the courts have to respect the impact such losses can have on people's lives.
    With that said, $45 grand is totally ridiculous. Courts should really start imposing fines (on lawyers as well as plaintiffs) for frivolous lawsuits. That might stop em in their tracks.
     
  21. Lacero macrumors 604

    Lacero

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    #21
    A cat is not worth $45K. This is a ridiculous amount of money. Dogs chase cats. Cats chase mice. Mice chase cockroaches. It's called life. The old lady should get over it.
     
  22. Henri Gaudier macrumors 6502a

    Henri Gaudier

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    #22
    Easy on the monkey's Ahmed

    This is drifting painfully close to nasty nationalistic ****. The Brits are tired of centralised industrial society. The EU is a commercially based empire & the Brits and lots of other Europeans recognise it as an undemocratic monlolithic gravy train. They, the monkey islanders, intuit the desire for something else. Without them, there would be no Europe - only a 3rd Reich. Can't abide the slant Ahmed.
     
  23. leftbanke7 macrumors 6502a

    leftbanke7

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    #23
    Lets just agree on this:

    The US is ran by a megalomaniacal dip **** Texan and funded by crooked people who would sell their own mother for 5 bucks. With liberty and justice for those worth 500 Million.

    Britain's views seem to sway in the wind of popular opinion and I can not recall them making a worthwile decision in the recent past that wasn't first agreed upon or created by somebody else.

    The French are a bunch of egotistical bastards who think they are better than everybody else but like any other ********ter, they try to point out the short comings of others to cover up their lackings.

    But it all doesn't matter anyway. We're all gonna die either from one big assed nuclear attack or global warming or God's finally gonna get pissed off enough and just end it. Either way, we should all just deal with the fact that we all suck in our own special way and just be happy.

    Oh, and yeah, 45,000 bucks for a cat is rediculous.
     

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