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Dog killed while at daycare, civil action lawsuit?

Discussion in 'Civil Court, Procedure & Litigation' started by Chloe Lawler, Oct 1, 2020.

  1. Chloe Lawler

    Chloe Lawler Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello, I’m looking for some advice. I am a nurse and while I was at work yesterday, I received a call from the daycare provider, where both of my dogs were being cared for. The lady had said I needed to get there ASAP. My dog had dug a hole in the yard and ran into the highway, was hit and killed. This was her first day at this daycare. The lady was very unsure of the situation and said that she did not notice Molly was gone until it was too late. I have been researching and see that this is considered negligence on the business owners part. This dog was an ESA and I am in complete shock about the situation. I am looking to have this issue not occur to other owners because it is absolutely heartbreaking. I don’t know where to even start to file anything or where to look. Suggestions? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry for the loss of your dog. Did you inform the provider that your dog had a propensity to dig under fences?
     
  3. Chloe Lawler

    Chloe Lawler Law Topic Starter New Member

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    No, she had not done it before. But dogs tend to dig.. so that would be included in many reasons as to why dogs attended daycare.
     
  4. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Based only on what you have provided there does not seem to be any negligence. I don't see that you have anything to take over.
    Was there any contract? Was the dog supposed to be caged or leashed? Were special arrangements made that were not followed?
     
  5. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm very sorry to hear about the loss of your emotional support dog. I can certainly understand how terrible you must feel.

    In summary, what you describe might be considered negligence but answers to these types of questions are fact specific to your unique set of facts and circumstances.

    The first thing you should do is look at the terms of the agreement which you have with this doggie daycare and see if there are any terms which might cover such a situation. This will prepare you for a conversation with the daycare about compensation, as horrible as that sounds for a precious support animal and also to act as a deterrent from happening again. You will have a problem filing for a claim for damages in certain courts without first attempting to resolve the matter between yourself and the daycare owner, e.g. Small Claims Court. They may provide you with a defense they claim they may have, such as @mightymoose mentions, and which may be addressed in the contract and which might be applicable. Without knowing more I don't think we can conclude about whether there was negligence, applicability of certain terms and conditions in the contract (including waivers.) But these are items to investigate.

    If you intend to go to court you will also need to have a number in mind as to damages. I haven't personally been involved in such a case but you might begin with considering the cost of obtaining another dog who is an ESA, training, etc. This way you'll have at least some number in mind since that is the best that any court can award you in such a situation - money damages.
     
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  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Researching isn't going to answer that question.

    There are four basic elements to a negligence claim: (1) the existence of a duty of care; (2) the breach of the duty of care; (3) causation; and (4) damages.

    Here, damages are pretty obvious, but there are potential issues with the other three. Generally, when Person A entrusts property to Person B, Person B has a duty to safeguard that property, and that's particularly true where A is paying B to take care of the property. Allowing a dog to dig under a fence and escape would generally be a breach of the duty, but we don't know exactly how this happened. Probably the biggest issue is going to be the existence and content of any waiver that you may have agreed to when you left your dogs at this place. Can you give us some insight into that?

    That said, I disagree with the response that seems to believe it is clear that there was no negligence. It's impossible to determine from the facts given.

    One other issue: unless this was a purebred dog, you're probably looking at no more than $100 in damages. Like it or not, the law views animals as property, so any recovery would be limited to the fair market value, and non-purebred dogs are a dime a dozen.
     
  7. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    That is not a universally true statement. In my personal experience, only 10% of the dogs I have owned had a tendency to dig. In other words, 1 out of the 10 dogs I've owned was a digger.

    I don't believe that you can show that every dog has a tendency to dig.
     
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  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Your one in ten (or 10% theory) is likely dependent on the BREED of dog you owned (or once owned).

    Many breeds DO dig, as it is their nature.

    For example, terriers, hounds, huskies, and beagles are known "diggers".

    That is not a knock on any d0g breed, some traits are nature doing what it does.

    15 Dog Breeds That Dig The Most

    While all dog breeds have some instinct to dig and may scratch or dig at the floor, carpet or bed, as he looks for the perfect spot, there is no doubt that some dogs take their digging a little more seriously than others.

    10 Dogs Breeds That Love to Dig.
     
  9. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    I hear what you're saying, but I still contend that there was no known history of THIS dog digging.

    For the record, my digger was a Keeshond/Miniature Poodle Cross crossed with a Rottweiler. (Yes, I have the DNA report - he was such an interesting looking dog that we just had to know). I've also had a Malamute/Shepherd mix that didn't dig.
     
  10. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I am not disputing what you allege.

    I am saying, that dogs, much like children do things humans don't observe, because humans can't monitor their pets 24/7/365.

    Beyond that, dogs are animals, driven by instincts and compulsions humans can't fully understand or predict.

    Heck, humans do unspeakable, unpredictable things, too.

    We are, after all, mammals, too.

    Animals, by nature and instinct, tend to breed with their own kind.

    Man's propensity to "domesticate" animals forces some animals to go against their instinct.

    For example, a male horse and a female donkey can create a hinny.

    A female horse and a male donkey create a mule.

    However, hinnies and mules can't procreate on their own.
    They are sterile because they can't make sperm or eggs.

    I developed an interest in genetics when I was working towards my DO.

    Canines don't have (in the wild) the proclivities and behaviors forced on them by humans.
     
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  11. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I agree with @zddoodah regarding the definition of negligence and also what can be deemed damages regarding a dog. But special service dogs are a different type of dog whose costs can far surpass just a few hundred dollars.

    With regard to digging, this is not unique canine behavior and it's certainly a foreseeable issue that any doggie daycare would and should have taken into account. Unless this is a very special "Escape from Alcatraz" type tunnel, the responsibility would appear to lie in the hands of the expert. With regard to "propensity" or "proclivities" in relation to dogs, I hear that phrase most often in relation to dog bites, which is a completely different issue.
     
  12. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Ok, you (plural) have convinced me. A dog digging is certainly a possibility that a "doggy daycare" could have foreseen and prepared for by actively monitoring the dogs (and other preparations).
     
  13. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    If I owned a "doggy daycare" that allowed dogs to play and run outdoors, I'd use special fencing that assists in preventing any daring doggy to escape.

    https://digdefence.com/lowes?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI187e4qyW7AIVC4vICh0xJgHREAAYAiAAEgJcB_D_BwE

    Dog Proofer - Fence Extensions & Barrier For Dogs.

    https://www.halocollar.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI187e4qyW7AIVC4vICh0xJgHREAAYAyAAEgIogPD_BwE

    5 Solutions to Stop Your Dog from Digging Under the Fence | PawLeaks
     
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  14. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    In fact, as I consider this sad event, does a doggy daycare have the responsibility and legal duty to prevent a person's precious pooch from being "dognapped"?

    What if some, evil genius, miscreant decided to "dognap" several valuable doggies as they played in an area that wasn't configured to prevent intruders from entering the area and "dognapping" several, precious poochies?
     
  15. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    They could also do what I did when I last installed a fence and what the
    It seems they would have the same level of responsibility as any business that was in the business of storing personal property.
     
  16. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I can feel the ribbing from here in NYC. It's what they often call it in Manhattan, probably because these places on the Upper East can resemble spas that probably far surpass my own gym. :D And if anything at all happens to their pets - and I mean anything - the liability is always on the facilty's owner. Always. :p
     
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