Monday, December 04, 2006

Opening A "Pandora's Box"

Do you own a pet, or is it a companion?

Politically correct speak already has us referring to pets as "companion animals" in many cases.

A couple is suing a man for shooting their dog. Nothing really unusual there. The twist comes from the fact that they already sued and won $4,000 for restitution. This was done under the long held legal aspect that their pet dog was their property. They had also asked for emotional damages and damages for loss of companionship, these were denied. (Correctly, in my opinion.)

While I can understand their feelings, being a dog owner myself, I don't think these folks realize what they are asking. When the line is crossed and a pet is no longer property owned, but as a companion, where is it going to stop? You can already be sued if you dog destroys someone's property, or bites someone. You can even be sued if a person illegally enters your property and your dog (or cat) attacks them. Will the penalties be harsher if it is ruled your "companion" attacked? Instead of civil liability, will blanket criminal liability be added?

What about euthanasia? When your "companion" is old and suffering, will having your pet put down be considered a mercy killing? My last dog was put down at age 13. He had broken his leg and when I took him to the vet the X-rays showed severe bone cancer, and an untrasound found more tumors. After he was euthanatized, the vet did an autopsy and found many more tumors throughout his body. If he had been ruled a "companion" would I have been forced to try treatments and medication to keep him comfortable until the decease had run it's course? Would I have been pressed into bankruptcy to keep him alive until the cancer killed him?

My current dog is 8-1/2 years old. He has hip dysplasia and arthritis. Looking on the internet, I find most folks would pay $1.50 - $2.00 per pill for his medication (1 pill per day). That would be $45 - $60 per month. Not to mention the cost of vet visits and X-rays. In addition, I had a benign tumor removed from his abdomen and a malignant tumor removed from his hip 6 months ago. Many folks would not be able to have this type of care done for their pets. If the courts rule that pets are not property owned but companions, will they be compelled to seek treatment whether they can afford it or not? Will vets be compelled to take on cases where the owner cannot afford (or does not want to pay) for the required treatment?

I feel this is a case where the dog's owners are opening a "Pandora's Box" of unintended consequences while trying to assuage their grief.

Read the full article here.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Rain, Rain, Come On Back!

The last couple of days have been interesting here in The Ozarks. On Wednesday it started off cloudy with thunderstorms hitting Wednesday Night. It rained most of the night Wednesday and on into Thursday. Thursday afternoon the rain changed to sleet and spent the next several hours laying down a sheet of ice, finally turning to snow about 10 PM. Today dawned nice & clear, with the snow sparkling and the windshield covered. Not having anywhere I had to go, I really didn't mind, but when I was walking the dog it was a bit slippery. The only bad thing was the windshield. Being a California guy, I don't have any scrapers or anything like that in my car. I also didn't have any Windsheild De-Icer to clear the windshield. You can bet that will be remedied before the next storm!

Where I am, I can see the parking lot of one of the local theaters. It was interesting to watch when the early show let out (around 5:30PM). There were a few folks who had to be towed out from the parking lot, and one bus that slid sideways quite a distance down the parking lot. The driver finally decided that maybe putting on the chains would not be a bad idea. Another bus I saw made it out on to the street only to lose traction and be stuck in the middle of the road. He finally was able to back a ways down the hill and get himself a running start.

Today the sky was clear, and the roads have been cleared, so all is getting back to normal.