My puppy was killed while under a kennel's care...is compensation unreasonable?

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Posted 12/3/2012 by ~lynn~ in NSBR Board
 

~lynn~
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Posted: 12/3/2012 7:49:24 PM
In August, our Maltese/Yorkie pup (6 months old) was being kenneled near where we were vacationing. We brought him there so we could pick him up for excursions where pets were permitted and so that we wouldn't be away from him for a whole week.

The second day after we had returned him from a day of hanging out at the lake with us, we received a call from the kennel within a half hour. They informed us that our pup had escaped, ran onto the hi-way and was hit by a vehicle which killed him. Needless to say I, and my family was devastated.

They said they were very sorry, and that was it. We haven't heard one word from them. The thought of going back there during the rest of our holiday to see if they were willing to do something was too painful for me. I thought that maybe, just maybe, they would approach us after to at least offer some sort of compensation.

I'd like some perspective from the peas. Is it fair for me to expect them to pay me for the cost of the dog, or, is it my own risk leaving my dog under their care?







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huskergal
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Posted: 12/3/2012 7:50:38 PM
Did you have to sign any kind of a form or did you receive any information about expectations, responsibility, etc.?


Susan



mamato1
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Posted: 12/3/2012 7:56:49 PM
What I think you're entitled to depends on what the paper work said that you signed when you checked him in. If you signed paperwork saying you wouldn't hold them responsible for something like this, then, no, you aren't entitled to any compensation. Check your paperwork you received when you checked him in.

The idea of compensation for a death always leaves me with an icky feeling. No offense to you, OP.



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huskergal
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Posted: 12/3/2012 7:57:47 PM
And I forgot, I am so sorry about your puppy. That is heartbreaking!


Susan



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Posted: 12/3/2012 7:58:47 PM
I used to work at a pet boarding facility that had a freak accident once where a dog was killed. I know the facility owner paid the dog owner a lot of money, as well he should have. It was all hush-hush, but I know it happened.

I still board my cats at the same facility because I know it was a freak occurrence.

I would think the owner would like to pay you in order to maintain his reputation. That kind of story can destroy a business.

I'm so sorry for your loss. What a terrible, terrible situation.


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molove
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:12:13 PM
I'm so sorry. I just don't even know what to say.
Freak accidents happen.
Sometimes mistakes happen.
Just really evaluate whether you want to exert any energy into this very painful event. If so, why? If not, are you really ready to move on and let it go?

This just breaks my heart for your family.

gavinsmom
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:17:59 PM
I would expect them to comp you the expense of a new dog!


Nicole

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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:25:28 PM
Oh man. I'm a dog lover and I've kenneled my dogs only at one place-EVER. I don't even let them stay at the vet's overnight after a surgery because no one is there overnight. Might as well bring them home where I can monitor.

I would totally lose my shiz over this. And I'd be asking someone to look into some regulatory things for this kennel. The whole purpose behind kenneling your animal is that it's a safe, controlled, environment where those things won't happen. I'd file a complaint somewhere-check your state info.

Did you ever see your pup afterwards? Sometimes these popular breeds are stolen and sold.


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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:29:38 PM
I am so sorry for your loss. That is so sad.

While you probably signed some kind of liability waiver, that usually isn't going to cover negligent behavior - and that a dog in their care was able to escape and get hit on the road certainly suggests some negligence.

I do not think you are out of line expecting compensation. I also would be posting your story on every review site out there. I sure as heck would want to know that about a kennel when I was choosing a place to board my pet - both what happened AND their response.

~lynn~
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:32:23 PM

I signed paperwork, but I didn't receive any to take with me. And honestly, I didn't read through it thoroughly, not smart...I know.

I'm not looking for anything more than what the puppy cost me. I know that the owners of the kennel likely felt horrible about it. They have a very nice, well looked after facility and seemed to be very busy.

In the end, our puppy is still gone and compensation doesn't change that. However some acknowledgement at all from the kennel would at least show that they care.





crimsoncat05
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Posted: 12/3/2012 8:45:46 PM
I am so sorry for your loss... we had something similar happen a couple years ago, sadly.

We were on vacation in WI in August, and our dogs were being boarded at a local neighborhood (licensed) in-home kennel. The day before we came home, we got a call that they were taking our dog (5-yrs old, in good health) to the vet... the vet said she had a temperature of 107F, and this was at least 45 minutes after they had noticed her collapse. They took her to our local vet, who tried to get her temp down and stabilize her for transport to the emergency vet, but she didn't make it there. Instead of picking her up at the kennel, we picked her up from the morgue (we chose not to have an autopsy performed, because they would have had to do it right away before we could see her, and because it may not have shown anything anyway).

We weren't successful-- we wanted some compensation for the >$1000 medical bills incurred because we believe they were negligent and left her outside too long, or at the very least, ignored her symptoms until she was too far gone from heatstroke. We consulted with a lawyer, but the kennel didn't have insurance, and they had no money (so they said). Because of the relatively small amount of money involved, the lawyer said the most we could hope for would be to take them to small claims court; we decided not to do it- I don't think my BF could have handled seeing them in court and having to relive it all again for the court.

We still get sick over what happened to our dog, and what galls the most is that they're still in business, and nothing negative happened to them at all. (edited to add: they said they *wanted* to help us, but they very quickly changed their tune and said they weren't responsible, and that they didn't have any money, anyway.)

Long story short, it depends on the agreement you signed, whether they have insurance, and maybe what your local laws or ordinances are governing kennels. I totally feel for you, and would suggest checking the laws in your area, or possibly consulting with a lawyer.




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~lynn~
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Posted: 12/3/2012 9:06:22 PM

Molove-it has taken until now for me to feel up to contacting the kennel and seeing what their response is. On one hand I'd like to forget all about this, but on the other hand, it feels 'not right' that they haven't offered anything, not even an acknowledgement. Seems callous and uncaring.

Wannapea-we didn't see our pup afterwards. They offered to take him to the vet hospital, but said he was gone for sure. It was honestly too painful for me to go there and see. After Christmas, we will be vacationing in the area again, maybe I can get it together enough to pay them a visit.


Frazzled Mom
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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:50:16 PM
Years ago our cat was killed while being boarded at the vet's office. A technician cleaning the dog runs let a pit bull escape and the pit ran into the cat area, tore apart the kitty condo our cat was in and then tore apart our cat.


The office manager who called us was sobbing - she said she had never seen such carnage. They apologized and covered the cost of cremating our kitty after the "autopsy" we requested for the police report. (Not an autopsy, but the official documentation of how our cat died.) We wanted to insure that the dog could never harm anyone else's pet, but it turns out we had no legal recourse against the dog owners. The vet offered nothing outside of covering cremation costs and the police said we'd need to sue the vet to get anything more. We didn't want money, and we found out the dog owners could just walk in and take their dog without so much as an apology. That dog went right back to its community.

So to answer your question, no, neither the vet nor the owners offered any compensation whatsoever.

I'm so sorry about the loss of your furbaby. {{{Hugs}}}


Gail

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Posted: 12/3/2012 10:56:07 PM

Wannapea-we didn't see our pup afterwards. They offered to take him to the vet hospital, but said he was gone for sure. It was honestly too painful for me to go there and see. After Christmas, we will be vacationing in the area again, maybe I can get it together enough to pay them a visit.


I'm so sorry. Poor little thing, poor you!

I would have demanded to have my dog (in whatever condition). Like Wannapea, I wonder if they didn't keep/sell your dog. I'm suspicious by nature, but the fact that you never saw the puppy again seems suspicious to me.

(Also, my brother and SIL had their chihuahua stolen from their car at a mall. My brother saw the thieves smash and grab Pinky Lulu, but from across the parking lot, but couldn't get there in time to stop them.)

I would sue the kennel for compensation. They need to be held responsible for their negligence. There should have been multiple doors between your dog and the highway. This shouldn't have been a possibility.

So sorry for your loss!



CraftChickaPowPow
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Posted: 12/3/2012 11:00:35 PM
This is heart wrenching . No advice just very very sorry.


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Posted: 12/3/2012 11:38:42 PM
I am so sorry. What a horrible thing for you and for your poor dog. I'm no lawyer, but it seems to me that "escape" falls into reasonable care and the expectations of a dog or puppy. If they don't reimburse you for a new dog I'd be taking them to small claims court.

At a minimum, a boarding facility should be set up for an animal to not be able to escape. There should be multiple walls, doors, and chain link type fences that would keep an animal from escaping the property.


~ Anna ~

~lynn~
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Posted: 12/4/2012 1:01:11 AM

The first day when we picked up our pup to spend the aftenoon with us, the owner joked, and said, "oh you're here for the little escape artist". When I asked what he was referring to, he said that our dog had worked at the latch on his crate until he got it open the day before.

The day he was killed, they claimed he had gotten over a gate and under a fence before running to the hi-way. It still makes me choke to think he was likely trying to look for us

I should add that we have since gotten another furbaby and he has certainly helped soften the blow




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Posted: 12/4/2012 1:34:22 AM
You probably did sign something that said by leaving your pet with them that you absolved them from any responsibility, blah, blah, blah... however, there's also a little matter of 'reasonable expectations' and a 'duty of care' when it comes to things like this.

If you had left your puppy with a neighbor, who was doing you favor, you probably wouldn't expect them to be as vigilant as someone you were paying to provide a service...and part of that service is to ensure the safety of your pet. It is reasonable to expect, when you pay someone who is in the specific business of providing care, that they have safeguards in place to ensure this type of thing doesn't happen.

I would call them and ask what they intend to do about the situation, or tell them what you expect them to compensate you for, and see how they respond. I would think, if they're smart, the cost of paying for a new puppy is much less expensive than having a former client telling all her friends that the XYZ Doggie Vacation Palace was negligent and killed her puppy, .....but if you don't ask, don't expect them to do the right thing, just because it's the right thing and they should do it anyway....and I'd do it now, not the next time you're in the neighborhood. If you don't like their response, take them to small claim's court....the fact they told you that he was an escape artist tells you they knew he was a potential risk, and they should have upped their 'security' to make sure he stayed put.

And I'm sorry for your loss

PennyPaws
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Posted: 12/4/2012 2:06:29 AM
All the stories are making me cry... Money doesn't bring them back, but an acknowledgment or sincere apology seems like it would've eased (not the best word) or showed some sort of respect for the loss... I'm sorry you guys didn't get at least that much


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Posted: 12/4/2012 6:23:46 AM

In the end, our puppy is still gone and compensation doesn't change that. However some acknowledgement at all from the kennel would at least show that they care.


I am very sorry for the loss of your puppy, but don't understand this post. You said they were very sad and said they were sorry when they called you. What other kind of acknowledgement do you want? It sounds like you want something they have already provided, unless you are just looking for money. How do you put a price tag on your puppy? (sorry if that sounds callous. It just sounds like they already apologized)

scrappindzny
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Posted: 12/4/2012 8:40:20 AM
Oh goodness. I am so sorry for your loss.
I cannot imagine.


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momstime
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Posted: 12/4/2012 8:48:10 AM

I am very sorry for the loss of your puppy, but don't understand this post. You said they were very sad and said they were sorry when they called you. What other kind of acknowledgement do you want? It sounds like you want something they have already provided, unless you are just looking for money. How do you put a price tag on your puppy? (sorry if that sounds callous. It just sounds like they already apologized)



Here's how I look at this...the kennel is a business, a business of keeping a pet safe and secure while the owners are otherwise occupied. The pet owner pays said business to provide the service and standard of care they advertise. This is simple. Part of providing a secure environment is watching the animal and doing what it necessary to ensure it is contained at all times. They were clearly aware that this dog was trying to get out of its enclosure. A reasonable business would, at the very least, wrap a leash or a rope around the bars and lock the cage down tightly. Dogs don't have thumbs to open knots.

Dogs are considered property. Yes, that property holds value...the cost of the dog. The kennel is responsible to protect the property (animal). In this case, they failed. They need to compensate the owner for the cost of the dog, the cremation and whatever other incidental charges that might have occurred.

I would notify the kennel with a bill explaining what you are asking for by way of compensation. (knowing full well that NOTHING and no amount of money will ever replace the puppy) If they do not comply, take them to small claims. You would (and should) win, hands down. Do not feel guilty. This is a matter of law, plain and simple.

NOTE: This is not a lottery case. You will not profit from your loss. You will simply be made whole. Do not attempt to even go there in your ask. It sours both the defendant and the judge.




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Posted: 12/4/2012 8:50:45 AM
"Dogs are considered property. Yes, that property holds value...the cost of the dog. The kennel is responsible to protect the property (animal). In this case, they failed. They need to compensate the owner for the cost of the dog, the cremation and whatever other incidental charges that might have occurred. "

That


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Posted: 12/4/2012 8:51:32 AM
If I were you I would simply post on the reviews of their company. Almost everyone has something on line then maybe they will contact you.

I'm so sorry.


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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:44:43 AM
I' so sorry.

The lack of acknowledgement means they do not want to admit fault.

You are expecting payment - have you called/emailed/met directly with the facility owner and ask when they will be cutting you a check so you can find a new pup?



Really Red
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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:48:26 AM
I am horrified. If my dog died due to negligence, I would indeed expect remuneration. I don't want more than is reasonable, but if you had a dog that cost some money, you would expect that back, plus you can think about how much it would cost to spay the next dog, etc. etc.

I am so very sorry for your loss. It is obviously horrid because you couldn't even talk about it for a few months. Shame on that place.


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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:51:33 AM
While we were on vacation my beloved Bailey died at the vet's office were she was being kenneled.I was devastated. They even charged us for the stay!


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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:55:04 AM
I am so sorry you lost your pet in this way.

Could you look at their web page to see what they say about responsibility and risk?


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Posted: 12/4/2012 9:56:27 AM
Oh my!! This is beyond tragic and I am so sorry for your loss!! I can't even begin to imagine how you feel. I believe they owe you a lot more than an apology.


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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:44:49 AM
I would very much expect to be paid the cost of the dog, any spaying and training you had invested.

What kind of facility is it that a dog can not only get out of their kennel, but past the front office, out the gates and on a road!?

It was negligence on their part, pure and simple and I'd pursue compensation!



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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:48:22 AM
Why would they offer to take the puppy to a vet hospital if he was already dead??
And you didn't want to pick up his body to bury him? (Does everyone bury their deceased pets or just my family?)


Rhonda



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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:40:53 AM

If I were you I would simply post on the reviews of their company.


yes, do that. help other people avoid the tragedy you had. we were looking online at a doggie daycare in our area. at first they seemed like a great place but a few links later we found reviews that changed our mind. one story, someone had just dropped off their dog and not 10 minutes later, the daycare called them back to say their dog got out and was run over. the other comments were not as extreme but they were bad enough that we never took our dog there.




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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:50:01 AM
What momstime said. Read and reread that. According to the law that family member is property and you are entitled to a lot more than just oops.

I know you don't want to look at it like pet=money. But it's your right and you should pursue that before time elapses.

By their comment the day prior, they should have been MORE careful since they KNEW your dog had a propensity to get out. That, too, is on them, not you or your dog. It's like blaming a baby or a child. Nope.

They were negligent and you should be 'made whole' in the legal sense. You can't wait for them to do the right thing. They're just hoping you'll go away. Who knows how many times this happened there before. And if you don't do something on record about it, it can happen again and again.

I am so sorry this happened to you. As a pup owner I can't imagine how crushed I would be. I am so, so sorry!


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Posted: 12/4/2012 12:39:27 PM
I am so sorry for the loss of your puppy

I agree with busypea:


While you probably signed some kind of liability waiver, that usually isn't going to cover negligent behavior - and that a dog in their care was able to escape and get hit on the road certainly suggests some negligence.

I do not think you are out of line expecting compensation. I also would be posting your story on every review site out there. I sure as heck would want to know that about a kennel when I was choosing a place to board my pet - both what happened AND their response


And yes, I would expect some type of compensation for any of our 3 dogs if their death was cause by negligence.


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naniwebbEMT
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Posted: 12/4/2012 1:31:56 PM
I didn't read all of the replies, but wanted to share my story.

We dropped our $400 min pin puppy off at a reputable kennel for obedience training. We told them that he could climb over gates and small fences. So when they put him in the kennel (3 feet tall/no roof), they tied him to a leash. Well he climbed the fence (like we told them he would) and hung himself.

We were devastated!! When we picked him up, she promptly refunded the cost of the training, apologized and that was that. We were too upset to think about being compensated for the cost of our dog.

After a day or two, we decided that compensation was appropriate, because the "accident" was caused by her negligence. We wrote a letter asking for compensation in the amount we paid for the dog. No response. Our next letter, stated that we had no problem going to local media about the issue as we felt she was being shady about the whole incident. If she didn't want to pay, she could've at least sent a letter in response. A check arrived for the full $400 with an apology, about a week later. We found another puppy soon after.

If they were negligent and caused the death of your dog, they need to be responsible to replace the dog. Period.


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Posted: 12/4/2012 2:05:32 PM
My best friend owns a facility and has had dogs escape. I will say that her staff is great and they have covered runs, multiple doors, multiple gates, etc. But sometimes dogs get very stressed and find ways to get out. So far they have always been able to get the dogs back. I know the last time it was like a series of weird events and the dog got out of the back area and into the front room as two employees were coming in and out. Then a customer who was standing in the lobby literally opened the door for the dog who then ran out into the road.

I don't know what they would do if a dog got out an was killed. I do know that if there is a medical issue that is found to be caused by the kennel she pays for it even if it pops up within a day or two after the pet boards there.


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Posted: 12/4/2012 2:29:17 PM
I'm so sorry for the loss of your furbaby and friend. I've read the entire thread and too many Peas have suffered the loss of their pets at the hands of people who needed to be far more responsible. This is so scary!

I agree about the media and the reviews. I would send a certified letter and request being compensated for the loss of your dog. THEY were negligent...pure and simple.

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Posted: 12/4/2012 2:31:28 PM
I'm so sorry for the loss of your pup.

My only related experience is a friend's dog (who usually stayed at my house) went to a wonderful boarding facility because I was out of town. During a supervised group play time, another large dog attacked Edison. The staff had already taken Edison to the emergency vet when they called my friend. The facility paid all medical costs, both during Edison's stay and after the stay. Heck, they even called a couple of times to see how Ed was feeling! And they refunded all payment for the stay. All of which sounds like "good customer service" to me.

Like others have said, I think the kennel owes you reimbursement for your property if nothing else. I think it's unfortunate you didn't insist on seeing or receiving the remains, but I totally understand your unwillingness to do so at the time. I think your first step needs to be contacting the kennel to "make it right". A phone call or visit might do...but I'd tend toward something documentable for future...like an email? Not sure exactly! But writing bad reviews online doesn't seem right when you haven't contacted them yet and given them a chance to do the right thing.



mdoc
Peaing under the Radar

PeaNut 61,691
January 2003
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Posted: 12/4/2012 6:16:35 PM
I would expect compensation. I can't imagine a puppy escaping and running into a highway and being hit by a car without there being negligence (possibly gross negligence) on the part of the kennel.
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