Harming Companion Animals: Liability and Damages has been written
for the benefit of the layperson whose companion animal has been harmed by negligent or intentional conduct (or, occasionally, by a breach of contract).
Accordingly, the monograph has kept the legal jargon to a minimum,
when possible expressing legal concepts mostly in lay terms (except
when using quotes from actual court decisions).
Harming Companion Animals: Liability and Damages does not deal with
criminal conduct. There are currently laws in every state criminalizing
certain kinds of illegal behavior toward animals in general, and companion animals in particular. However, because the monograph is intended to arm the layperson in dealing with the civil consequences of negligent and intentional acts, it does not cover criminal conduct.
The monograph’s analysis consists of two major parts.
Part I deals with “liability” resulting from wrongful conduct. Someone
must have done something either negligently or intentionally (or even
through breach of contract) to cause harm to a companion animal.
If there is liability, the second question, dealt with in Part II, is: what
are the “damages”?
Even though most of the harm to companion animals results from
veterinary malpractice, Harming Companion Animals: Liability and Damages should not be taken as a criticism (let alone a condemnation) of all veterinarians.
On the contrary.
Although among the thousands and thousands of veterinarians in the
United States there are some bad apples—just as in the medical, legal,
and all other professions—the vast majority of veterinarians and their staffs are caring, dedicated, competent, healers who feel deeply about the animals they treat.
For them, all of us who share our lives with companion animals are eternally grateful.