In California, as in most other states, dogs are considered property. So when a dog dies at the hands of a potentially negligent business, and you want to take legal action, you may be hard pressed to find a lawyer who will represent you.
That’s why nearly three years after her beloved Lhasa Apso, Sadie, died as a result of heatstroke after being put into a Petco cage outfitted with a dryer (often called a “cage dryer”), Teresa Gilland is finally suing the company. It took her a very long time to find a lawyer who would take her case.
Working with Christine Garcia, a San Francisco lawyer who specializes in animal litigation, Gilland had been asking Petco in mediation sessions to stop using dryers in their kennels. Petco would not agree to this, so the case has moved to the next stage, and hearings could be as early as August. The civil lawsuit they filed in Sacramento Superior Court charges wrongful death and negligence, and asks for unspecified monetary damages.
“I want Petco to stop using these machines, or at least post warnings to customers about them,” said Gilland told the Sacramento Bee. “This, for me, has been just devastating. I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”
Sadie is not the first dog to perish because of a cage dryer. And she wasn’t the last, judging by other stories I’ve been reading about these contraptions since Sadie’s death. In the right hands, and with plenty of supervision, many groomers and veterinarians say they can be safe. But even a well-meaning groomer, busy with other dogs, might forget about a dog in a kennel set up with a drying mechanism. Temperatures can quickly reach dangerous levels.
When 6-year-old Sadie was rushed to a veterinarian, her temperature was 107. (A dog’s normal temp is 101-102.) The veterinarian said she died as a result of “severe heatstroke.” When Gilland later saw Sadie’s cage at Petco, she said it had blood smears and scratch marks.
What a way to go.
Dogsters, a few questions: What do you think about the dog-as-property issue? Should a dog have approximately the same legal status as a coffee table? And what are your thoughts about cage dryers? Do any of you use them, or do you utterly avoid them?
Source: Sacramento Bee