Monday, February 7, 2011
Help Me Howard: Lost Dog
Have you ever taken your pet to a groomer, a kennel or even a vet. What if something happened and they lost or accidentally killed your animal. Are they responsible? If your a pet owner the answer may surprise, which is why we bring in Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- You always hear about a man and his dog. In reality it's more about kids and their dog.
Chloe is a Jack Russel Terrier who has her place with the Place family.
John Place: "I got it for Christmas two years ago for the kids. They had been begging me and begging me for a dog. She loves the kids."
A few weeks ago, John and Michelle wanted to take the kids to Disney World meaning Chloe had to go to a kennel.
John Place: "We took Chloe to the animal spa on Friday morning around 11:00, and we met the owner and the owners daughter. It's family business and they seemed nice. The place was really clean."
The four day trip was great then when they got home John went to pick Chloe up.
John Place: "And I walked in and the lady was like I've been dreading this moment the whole weekend."
Turns out Chloe had run out the front door right after John left. The business owner made a call but it wasnt to John.
Michelle Zymet: "Instead of calling us the parents of the dog she called a pet psychic to see if they could help her locate our animal."
John didnt know whether to laugh or scream, but that decision became easy after the pet spa told him we lost your dog, but we arent responsible.
John Place: "Well we're not held responsible because you signed the release form."
Michelle Zymet: "The contract states that we're not responsible of the dog get's injured or gets ill or escapes."
Michelle Zymet: "It's absurd. I've never head anything like it."
John and Michelle then went to work, they printed up these flyers and started putting them up to try and find their dog, and at the same time, called Help me Howard to see if the pet spa could walk away from responsibility after they let chloe run away.
Howard Finkelstein: "Yes, businesses can refuse to accept responsibility for their mistake but not in this case because the language in the contract is unclear and confusing. Courts don't like these type of clauses called waivers of liability and in most case they hold the business responsible for the mistake. In other words, they lost the dog they have to replace the dog."
But the kids didnt want another dog they wanted Chloe to their credit. The pet spa did try to help putting up a $500 reward for the person who found Chloe, but only one thing would make the kids feel better.
John Place: "My son nicolas he was crying yesterday."
Kids: "Do you miss your dog?"
"Please bring her back, please bring her back."
The posters worked 6 days after Chloe disappeared they got a call.
John Place: "That someone found him there was an injured dog, but she seems to be OK. A little shaken up."
It would be an exaggeration to say Chloe was fine 6 days on asphalt left the house dog with raw paws, ant bites on her head and starving.
John Place: "She was pretty thin before but now she's pretty sickly looking but we'll feed her."
Chloe will be fine the kids are so happy, but John and Michelle are still stunned to learn when it comes to a family pet the law doesnt have much sympathy.
Howard Finkelstein: "In fact its only worth the fair market value in other words if you got the cat or dog from the pound and paid $50 that's all you will get if it dies or disappears."
The law may not think your dog is worthy much, but dont tell that to the kids.
Patrick Fraser: "Glad it worked out for them. It does surprise many people to find out that if a vet or kennel accidentally kills your pet, no matter now special the animal is to you all they have to do is pay to replace the pet, and by the way, we do want to give the kennel credit, they paid for Chloe's visit to the vet and even paid to have her micro-chipped. They also told us they've changed their policies so dogs are immediately taken to secure areas and cant escape."
Got a problem that has left you on a short leash? Wanna escape? Contact us, it may be a dog gone tough one, but we will find an answer for you.