Santa Clarita resident, dogs, lawsuits on behalf of dogs, lawsuits against dogs, traits, curiosity, desire to please, Central Park, dogs off-leash, humans and dogs

Bringing lawsuits on behalf of dogs, part 1

Posted on Posted in Animal torts

Has anyone ever filed a lawsuit on behalf of a dog?  Or, a lawsuit against a dog?

As Santa Clarita residents have noted, many writers throughout history have said dogs possess traits such as curiosity, a desire to please, and an active lifestyle. As a result, these traits have allowed dogs to enter into more than just a symbiotic relationship with humans. This is why many governments, like the City of Santa Clarita, have set aside large areas, such as Central Park, for residents to bring their dogs off-leash. However, even though humans and dogs have bonded through the millennia, we have been required to write laws not only to protect our most-loved companions, but also to condemn those dogs who have been neglected (or trained) to the point they do harm to humans.

Santa Clarita resident, dogs, lawsuits on behalf or against dogs
The Dog – Man’s Best Friend

Although mankind has fashioned several legal theories in the area of animal torts, such as: (1) bailment, (2) trespass to chattels, (3) conversion, (4) injury to property, (5) intentional infliction of emotional distress, and (6) veterinary malpractice, this post by Law Freq Legal Services will cover the set of elements, facts and evidence needed to establish a claim for damages brought upon a plaintiff’s pet or companion animal (i.e., dog), through the following legal theory: bailment.

First, we at Law Freq Legal Services should point out that for all of the legal theories named above, a plaintiff must prove that he/she is the valid owner of the animal at issue by showing:

[x] Plaintiff has documentary evidence of ownership or purchase;
[x] Plaintiff is identified to be in contact with the animal on regular basis;
[x] The animal is known to have resided at plaintiff’s home; and
[x] Witnesses can testify to facts concerning the aforesaid relationship.

Nevertheless, in order to place a valid claim or cause of action for bailment (with respective to the dog), a plaintiff must also prove:

[x] That he (the plaintiff) and defendant had an express or implied agreement to create a bailment;
[x] That plaintiff delivered the animal to the defendant;
[x] The condition of the animal when delivered;
[x] That defendant accepted the animal in the condition described, or,
[x] Plaintiff and defendant agreed on the expected condition of the animal when returned to plaintiff;
[x] The animal was not returned, or,
[x] The animal was returned in a condition not contemplated by the agreement, or,
[x] The animal was returned dead.

Now, for those Santa Clarita residents who are not familiar with the word “bailment,” it is defined as “the rightful possession of goods by one who is not the owner.” The word was derived from the French word “bailler” which means “to deliver.” Bailment is generally limited to tangible personal property. Thus, in this example, a dog is tangible personal property. Accordingly, if you have experienced anything related to the above-stated elements with regard to your dog or companion animal, or if you need assistance or general guidance, contact Santa Clarita’s caring legal professionals at Law Freq Legal Services. Now, that’s good advice!

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