(FL - US) South Florida family suing vet, clinic for dog's death
Snugglezzz at aol.com
Snugglezzz at aol.com
Wed Jul 2 11:27:00 EDT 2003
Published Wednesday, July 2, 2003
South Florida family suing vet, clinic for dog's death
The Associated Press
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.
A Tamarac family whose dog died after getting two teeth pulled can sue the veterinarian and the clinic, a judge ruled.
Circuit Judge J. Leonard Fleet ruled Tuesday that Adam Riff and his mother, Ellen, can move forward with their lawsuit against Welleby Veterinary Medical Center in Sunrise and their former vet, John Willie.
The Riffs took their 8-year-old Shetland sheepdog named Lucky to the vet for a tooth extraction in June 2001. When they returned, they were "shocked and horrified to find Lucky in an oxygen chamber," according to the lawsuit.
The Riffs say Willie suggested they take the dog to an emergency pet hospital because he was about to close, but would release the dog to them only after they paid the $519 bill. Adam Riff carried out the catatonic dog and took him to the hospital, where Lucky died the next day.
According to the suit, the Riffs "had to watch their companion Lucky die a slow and agonizing death of vomiting, nausea and indescribable pain." The suit claims breach of contract, malpractice and emotional distress.
Defense attorney Dan Bachi of West Palm Beach said Lucky died from a pre-existing condition. He also said pet owners "are entitled to recover the fair market value of their pet, not unlike any other property."
"The law is they should not be entitled to emotional damages," he added.
Fleet threw out the Riffs' claim for Lucky's own pain and suffering, but the judge sounded sympathetic to their case.
"When all other friends desert, he remains," he said, reading from a 19th-century text.
The Riffs' attorney, Barry Silver of Boca Raton, cited several Florida cases where pet owners were allowed to sue for malpractice and won. But he said none of them was allowed to collect for pain and suffering.
Silver acknowledged that the case is "unusual because the vast majority of courts have refused to permit any recovery whatsoever of the guardians of the dogs. It's almost never happened."
A jury verdict for the Riffs would have to hold up on appeal to become legal precedent.
Information from: South Florida Sun-Sentinel,
More information about the AR-News