Question

The vet lost our dog’s ashes after cremation and did not return the blanket we used when we put our dog down, which we used daily. They also didn’t refund the money. I would appreciate other opinions on this.

Answer

I am truly sorry for your loss. Of note is a New York court decision from many years ago, Corso v. Crawford Animal Hospital. The dog “parent” planned their dog’s funeral. The dog’s body was to be delivered to the cemetery for burial. At the funeral, the dog’s “parent” found the body of a dead cat in the coffin. In awarding $700 to the dog’s “parent,” the court said: “In ruling that a pet such as a dog is not just a thing, I believe the plaintiff is entitled to damages exceeding the market value of the dog. A pet is not an inanimate thing that simply receives affection; he also returns it. I find that the plaintiff, Ms. Corso, suffered shock, mental anguish and despondency as a result of the wrongful destruction and loss of the dog’s body. She had planned an elaborate funeral and planned to visit the grave in years to come. She was deprived of this right… Saying it (speaking of the dog) is a personal good and anything more is a repudiation of our humanity. This I cannot accept. There was another case in California, Levy v. Only Cremations For Pets, Inc., in which the crematorium allegedly provided a dog’s “parent” with the wrong ashes. The court in that case said the plaintiff could legitimately seek damages for emotional distress against the crematorium. However, the court stated in part: “Our decision is limited to cases in which a crematorium has offered private cremation services to comfort grieving pet owners. » The courts continue to recognize the special relationship that exists between humans and their pets. This makes it difficult to predict how courts across the country will decide these cases. Complaints against veterinarians can also be filed with the Missouri Veterinary Licensing Board.

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