Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Massachusetts Appeals Court affirms recovery of reasonable vet bills for damage caused by dogs

The Massachusetts Appeals Court recently affirmed a decision in favor of the owner of a dog, attacked by another dog, whose vet bills exceeded the market value of the injured dog. Both plaintiff and defendant assumed that the over $8,000 veterinary bill exceeded the market value of the injured dog.

This court concluded that, under G. L. c. 140, § 155, which imposes strict liability for damage caused by dogs, reasonable veterinary costs that are reasonably incurred can be recovered by the owner of an animal injured by a dog even if such costs exceed the market value or replacement cost of the animal; accordingly, in a civil action brought by plaintiff dog owners against the defendant owners of a dog that attacked and severely injured the plaintiffs' dog, to recover, pursuant to § 155, veterinary costs resulting from emergency surgery, the District Court judge did not err in awarding such costs in full, where the evidence amply supported the judge's finding that the costs were reasonable. Irwin v.Degtiarov, 85 Mass. App. Ct. 234, 235-240 (2014)
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 140, section 155 
Liability for damage caused by dog: minors; presumption and burden of proof
For more information:
Massachusetts Law About Animals which also includes an earlier decision in the above case, captioned Irwin v. Deresh 
Pet and Animal Law Print and Audio CD Resources:
Every Dog's Legal Guide: a must-have guide for your owner NOLO (2012)

Animal Law MCLE (2009)

Pet Law Oceana Pub.(2007)

Pet Trusts: estate planning for the care of animals MCLE (CDs 2011)

Ethical Issues in Estate Planning for Pet Owners, ABA (CDs 2010)

The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's dogs and their tale of rescue and redemption Gotham (2010)

A Lawyer's Guide to Dangerous Dog Issues ABA (2009)

Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation Columbia U. Press (2008)
PETA Factsheets

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Good Reading!