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Loren, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  30 years experience representing clients.
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I had taken my 4 yr old St Bernard dog to "one of the top 3

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I had taken my 4 yr old St Bernard dog to "one of the top 3 trainers in the world" to be worked with. He was to be kenneled for 3 days prior to training while I had to go out of state. While away I received a call from this trainers assistance telling me that my dog had died and that they had taken care of the cremation. My boy died on a Saturday night around 11pm at an animal clinic. This phone call advising me of his death happened the next day at 3 pm in the afternoon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Trainer had signed in at the clinic representing himself as the owner of the dog, signed paperwork for cremation as the "owner" and paid for the cremation the night of his death. What legal recourse do I have against this trainer?
Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I will do whatever I can to answer your question and provide excellent service.

My condolences for your loss. I am sorry to hear of your dilemma.   I realize how frustrating this is for you and I hope to provide you information which is accurate and useful, even though it may not be the news you were hoping to get.

If you can show negligence on the part of the kennel then you would be entitled to the value of your pet, as well as the costs of the kenneling and any other payments you made to them. It is certainly suspicious that they went ahead with cremation without your consent. It gives the appearance that there was something to hide, unless there was a necropsy performed prior to the cremation.

Unfortunately, pets are classified as personal property under the law, so, pain and suffering are not recoverable, only actual damages.

If you wish to pursue a claim you will want to move quickly to secure the reports and records and interviews with workers and other witnesses.

Again, I am sorry.

I hope this is helpful. If you have more follow up questions please let me know. It is never a problem.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


I understand what you are saying. This has everything to do with the conduct of this trainer. Nothing was done to contact me until 18 hrs after his death. No authorization was given by me to have him cremated. A signed contract states that "I will be notified" in the event of sickness or injury. He was unresponsive upon his arrival at the clinic and could not be revived. And for what it's worth, the trainers vet is unlicensed to practice, but I don't know the extent of his involvement. Oh and nothing was done relative to requesting a necropsy.

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX following up with me.

As a fellow dog owner, I sympathize with your situation. The behavior of this kennel is reprehensible.

If they violated the terms of the agreement then you could sue for breach of contract. It certainly appears that they were trying to hide something from you and it would not be surprising to find some sort of negligence on their part in the death of your otherwise healthy pet.

Obviously, the difficulty is going to be in establishing a cause of death and timeline without a body, but there have to have been witnesses who have information.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Witnesses as I understand it are the trainer, assistant trainer, and the emergency vet. But the EV report states "unresponsive" when received at the clinic.

In addition to breach of contract how about the following?

1) Outrageous behavior

2) Negligent Behavior

3) Professional Negligence

4) Intentional/Criminal Behavior

5) Fraudulent Actions

6) Gross Negligence

Any rules of law apply to the above to take action?

Also I know that with no body, no cause of death and again that is not my issue..... it's that SOB trainer and his actions that has me BS !!!!!

Those are all possible causes of action. The problem is still, no matter the claim, you can only recover the actual dollar value of your property.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Well that sucks !!!!! Isn't there something relative to "loss of companionship"?

Also, if that is the botXXXXX XXXXXne on all of this... I plan on posting my story on ever pet posting board in the country, contacting local news reporters, every Golden Retriever breeder in the country(told me he is going to be training them for resale as completely trained companions at $7k plus.

Other issues that comes to mind is this Mobil Vet of his and no being registered in Fl.

No, you can not get loss of companionship and I agree, Hal, it does suck.

One possible place to hang your hat, so to speak, is that if you can prove a claim for fraud then the court can award punitive damages. If they were negligent in causing the death and then actively attempted to cover it up then you can ask the court to award punitive damages.

The issue regarding registration licensing is administrative in nature and would result in fines to the mobile vet.

I hope this is helpful to you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Understand re: damages. One point is their supposed vet and the conversation that took place. Mozart is my boy,btw, a twice rescued boy,and I was told by the assist of the trainer during that phone call Sunday that he had a heart attack. And as I stated, Mozart was unresponsive upon arrival to the clinic, thus the question what took place earlier in the evening involving an unregistered vet....who doesn't speak English for what I was told. Was he given something that went bad and died as a result....... something we will never know now !!!!!



As an info only thing for you Loren, we are not talking about some trainer listed in the yellow pages, this trainer has a pretty significant presence in training..... The Miami Dog Whisperer Have my Facebook( Hal Werntz) page that I'm working on In Memory of Mozart and will be having all friends to start sending Mozart's story to everyone they know. Wonder how that will sit with that SOB !!!!! And it goes without saying that whatever I post will be backed up by fact.


I do hope you get to the bottom of this and, if there was wrongdoing, they are punished.

Mozart must have been a great comfort to you and I am sorry he is gone.

Thank you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks Loren for your thoughts and responses. Mozart was my life for the 7 mos I had the privilege to call him mine.The former owners, which I've kept it touch with are just as devastated by what has happened and they had adopted him out of a shelter 1 1/2 yrs prior to me being given him by them vs going back to another shelter or rescue group.

Thanks again and as being a pet owner yourself.....:"Our Pets ARE Family"


You are very welcome Hal.

Mozart sounds like he was lucky to have you as a friend.

Good luck to you.

Loren and 3 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your positive rating of my service to you and your generous bonus. Let me know if you need more help or have future questions. I will be here for you. Just ask for me by name at the start of your question - "Loren" or use the following link (which you can bookmark in your browser):

Best wishes and good luck to you.

If it is not too much trouble, Hal, when you receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey from JA/Pearl in a day or two, please consider rating me highly (9 or 10). It affects my ability to continue to assist you and other customers on JA/Pearl and would be most appreciated.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

!0+ when I get for the future with you...that's a given !!!!

Have a great weekend Loren.


Thanks Hal. Much appreciated.

You have a great weekend, as well.