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dog Defendant’s dog attached Plaintiff’s cat in Plaintiff’s garage. As a result Plaintiff incurred $6500 in veterinary bills before the cat died.   Plaintiff sued Defendant

Defendant argued that the measure of damages should be the market value of the cat. The court noted that Section  Florida Statutes, “Dog owner’s liability for damages to persons, domestic animals, or livestock” provides “Owners of dogs shall be liable for any damage done by their dogs to a person or to any animal included in the definitions of “domestic animal” and “livestock” as provided by s. 585.01.   Thus the owner of a dog is cast virtually in the role of an insurer and is strictly liable for the damage done by his dog.

In cases of injury to animals, the plaintiff ought to recover for expenses reasonably incurred in efforts to cure them in addition to the diminution in their value or their whole value when they are finally lost. The traditional restriction in personal property cases that the cost of repair should not exceed the market or ‘intrinsic’ value of the property should not be applied in a case whether neither market nor ‘intrinsic’ value is capable of calculation and a living creature is involved. However, the court found that as the cat was seventeen years old, $6500 in medical care was excessive, and only awarded $2500.00.

MEACOMES, vs. MORALES, County Court, 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Civil Division. September 22, 2004. 11 Fla. L. Weekly Supp. 1073a

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