So how much pain can a dog feel? If you're a dog owner like I was, you probably realize that dogs can experience as much pain as any human being. And given their status as "pets," a dog's vulnerability and suffering can be especially heart-breaking.
Yet, dogs are treated as property in the eyes of the law, reports the New York Post. So one could argue that damage to a dog could be treated like damage to a car or any other thing you own.
Now a Manhattan jury may have the chance to determine once and for all if dogs can in fact legally feel pain in a dog lawsuit filed on behalf of a dog.
Described as a first-of-its-kind lawsuit, a Manhattan woman, Elena Zakharova, says that she bought a petite Brussels Griffon named Umka from the Raising Rover shop. However, that dog ended up being damaged goods, allegedly as a product of a puppy mill.
The dog was certified as healthy, but she was soon limping around and crying out in pain, reports the Post. This summer, the dog was diagnosed with a bad knee requiring surgery. Eventually, it was discovered that the dog also had problems with her other three knees as well as her hips.
Zakharova says that Raising Rover has a history of selling puppy mill dogs and should be responsible for the pain and suffering of the dogs they sell.
However, to prevail in her lawsuit, Zakharova will first have to show that Umka is a living being and not property. Obviously, a table or chair cannot sue for damages if damaged by a careless owner. Equally obvious, dogs are not tables or chairs.
As a New York City personal injury lawyer would not do in this unique case, Elena Zakharova hired a noted animal-rights lawyer to argue her case. The lawyer described the case as "request[ing] humanity for Umka in that she be considered a living soul that feels pain, and that her pain and suffering is recognized by this state and considered as damages to her."
It will be interesting to see what exactly a Manhattan jury will do when faced with this dog lawsuit.
- Find a Manhattan Product Liability Attorney (FindLaw)
- Elena Zakharova Sues Raising Rover Pet Store For Dog's Pain (Huffington Post)
- Do states have pet laws that cover an owner's rights when purchasing an animal? (FindLaw)
- Doggie Love In Queens Sued For $1M For Death Of French Bulldog (FindLaw's New York Personal Injury Law Blog)