The law is on the brink of change. Court decisions in several states have recognized that animal owners should be compensated for mental distress, loss of companionship, and sentimental damages. Legislatures are considering and sometimes passing new laws that will grant compensation to owners as a matter of course when their dogs are injured or killed. And insurance companies are quietly settling claims for these kinds of losses, even without corresponding changes in the law.

For example, in LaPorte v. Associated Independents, Inc., 163 So. 2d 267, 1 A.L.R.3d 992 (Fla. 1964), a dog was killed and the owner sued for mental distress. The Supreme Court of Florida rejected the fair market value approach, and agreed that the owner should receive compensation for the sentimental value of the dog:

"Without indulging in a discussion of the affinity between 'sentimental value' and 'mental suffering,' the court feels that the affection of a master for his or her dog is a very real thing and that the malicious destruction of the pet provides an element of damage for which the owner should recover, irrespective of the value of the animal because of its special training, such as a Seeing Eye dog or a sheepdog."

Similarly, the press has reported a number of settlements that far exceeded the fair market value of the animals that were involved. So keep reading, and be a part of the change that hopefully will bring some fairness to people whose dogs have been injured or killed.

This is a “how-to” book, not a scholarly treatise. This is about changing something, making an outcome turn out differently, arriving at a destination. The discussion about what is right and wrong belongs somewhere else – in fact, on Dog Bite Law. For a game winning strategy, however, stay with this book. This is where you will get the job done. This is about action.