Lawsuit Seeks Damages for a Dog’s Pain and Suffering


Umka’s first year has involved various medical problems. Should there be compensation for her “pain and suffering”?

photo via the Daily Mail

Here’s a news story with many different points for discussion. A New York woman is suing the boutique pet store where she bought her Brussels Griffon, named Umka, claiming that the store withheld information about the puppy’s health. Elena Zakharova paid $1,600 for the puppy (discussion point #1) last February, and the poor dog has already been diagnosed with joint problems that will require surgery. Unbeknownst to Zakharova, the shop has a reputation for selling puppy-mill dogs (discussion point #2), according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Zakharova’s lawsuit seeks money not only to cover Umka’s medical expenses, but also for her “pain and suffering” (discussion point #3). This is the first time that a lawsuit has sought to compensation for the emotional pain of an animal, which are usually considered property under the law:

Filed by noted animal-rights lawyer Susan Chana Lask, the suit “requests 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.”

You can read all about the case in today’s Daily Mail and New York Post.

So what do you think about

1. paying $1,600 for a dog at a boutique pet store?
2. the store not revealing where the dog came from?
3. the idea of compensation for a dog’s “pain and suffering”?

Enquiring minds want to know.

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