A recent article in the New York Daily News details a lawsuit recently filed by a New York dog owner who is suing the store who sold her the dog, claiming her puppy deserves compensation for pain and suffering. Months after purchasing her precious pooch, Elena Zakharova began to notice her dog, Umka, was whimpering and having trouble walking. A costly $4,000 surgery – with another planned for the same cost – was the only solution to fix the dog’s condition.
“Pets must be recognized as living souls, not inanimate property,” Zakharova’s lawyer was quoted saying by the New York Daily News.
There are many troubling pieces to this lawsuit which raise concern for our legal system. Putting blame on the boutique which sold the animal for a disorder which they had no knowledge of prior to the sale and no control over is as unfair as blaming OBGYN’s for uncontrollable birth complications.
Giving pets the same rights as people in the court of law is ludicrous. With no way to know how much pain and suffering is actually suffered by an animal, it would be utterly impossible to make a fair judgment. And following this absurd claim to its logical conclusion raises some serious issues – can a child who taunts an animal in a pets store be sued for harassment? Is “blaming it on the dog” slander? Which pets have rights – is it just the cute ones, or snakes and fish too? And how would the injured pet collect their compensation?
With an estimated 69 million American households owning pets, there are only two clear beneficiaries here – those who exploit their pet’s suffering for money, and their lawyers who collect a sizeable fee. Setting this precedent would trigger an avalanche of frivolous lawsuits – not to mention make New York the laughing stock of the entire Nation.
The judge should sanction Zakharova’s attorney and throw out this bogus lawsuit entirely. Our courts are backlogged, and those who deserve compensation must wait years for their case to be resolved. Lawsuits like this only serve to waste the court’s time and the taxpayers’ money.
As a dog lover myself (see my handsome pup above) I know that animals understand emotion and feel pain – and I feel bad for Umka. But giving a pet the same legal rights as people defies common sense. At the end of the day a dog is just a dog.
View the video from the New York Post.