2005 Animal L. Comm. Newsl. 1 (2005)

handle is hein.journals/anilawcn2005 and id is 1 raw text is: 











Spring 2005


         Animal Law Commit


                                                                      HIS

All  Bark   and No Bite:                                                1sT
Getting the Most Out of Your Animal Law Judgments


By: Adam Karp
   Homeowner's  insurance ensures payment of most
dogbite claims involving negligent control or strict
liability. But insurance will not pay for some of the
starkest examples of men's and women's cruelty to
nonhuman  animals, which are often pled as intention-
al torts like fraud and conversion. As might be
expected, the likelihood of financial recovery from
those who commit such acts is inversely related to the
vileness of the misdeed. The need for aggressive
post-judgment collections is a foregone conclusion,
and the risk of bankruptcy threatening to upend the
underlying judgment an ever present threat. Below
are some considerations for the animal law practi-
tioner desirous of getting clients paid.

Who  is the Owner?
   Determining the proper defendants will naturally
define against whom you may satisfy the anticipated


judgment. State law varies, but often any person or
business entity with care, custody, or control of the
tort-causing nonhuman animal will be liable. This
includes licensed or registered owners, as well as
harborers, keepers, and those with temporary posses-
sion-such  as walkers, veterinarians, pet sitters,
trainers, roommates, and the occasional landlord. If
your courts have not defined or distinguished owners
from keepers, look to the statutes addressing cruelty
to animals, dogbites, and dangerous dogs, all of
which should have a definition section.

Bankruptcy and  Animal Law  Judgments.
   Most judgment debtors seek refuge in Chapter 7
in order to shake off judgment  creditors whose
underlying claims sound in negligence, such as a
garden variety motor vehicle accident, or breach of
                              Continued on page 5

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