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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
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I recently boarded my 3-year old American Bulldog while on

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I recently boarded my 3-year old American Bulldog while on vacation in Florida. Four days after dropping him off at the kennel I was informed that he passed away. His Veterinarian performed a necropsy and determined that he died to extreme temperatures while being left outside in high 80-90 degree weather. FYI-The Animal Protective League is also conducting their investigation to determine negligence. I would like to know how much can I sue the Kennel for? Or is this only a civil case?
Dear JACUSTOMER - I am very sorry for the loss of your dog. As a dog owner myself I know how difficult this can be and especially under these circumstances. You would have a right to sue the kennel for your loss and it would be a civil case as there is no criminal activity unless you could prove that someone intentionally killed your pet. The problem in lawsuits involving pets is that pets are legally considered as personal property so the amount of the suit is the cost of the pet rather than the emotional loss that is suffered. In order to get more than the cost of the pet you would have to show that someone intentionally killed your dog in order to bring emotional distress upon you. That is very difficult to prove and it would require some evidence of a motive to harm you. So you can file a small claims suit for the value of your dog plus any charges associated with the death and, of course, any kennel fees. I know nothing will replace your dog but if the kennel was negligent the kennel should at least be responsible for your loss.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank You for your advice. I am totally ignorant to how filing a civil case works. Can you point me in the right direction and what I should do to get started?

Virtually all cities and towns in Ohio that have a municipal court will also have a small claims division. The small claims courts are designed for the public for suits involving relatively small amounts, generally under $5000 and where no attorney would be necessary. You would have to sue in the small claims court in the area where the kennel is located if different from where you live. Virtually all small claims courts will provide the necessary forms for public use that will have instructions on filing. Basically it is simply filling out a form and paying a small filing fee for which you can also collect if you win the suit. You would have the burden of proof to show that your dog was exposed to extreme heat while in the care of the kennel so you may have to call your vet to testify at the trial as to the cause of death. I would think that the kennel would carry liability insurance to cover such situations so you may be able to collect without having to go to trial.
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