2006 Animal L. Comm. Newsl. 1 (2006)

handle is hein.journals/anilawcn2006 and id is 1 raw text is: 











Spring 2006


          Animal Law Committee




The   Care and Worth of Animals
By: Henry Mark Holzer


   Virtually every custodian of a companion animal
can relate a story about how a veterinarian provided
quality care, cured a problem, even saved a life. In most
of our experiences, we've found veterinarians to be
capable, empathetic, and conscientious.
   However, just as the media is replete with horror
stories about negligent and intentional conduct by some
members  of most trades, professions, and callings-
from plumbers to lawyers to priests-of particular dis-
tress to the custodians of companion animals  are
reports of harm done to them by veterinarians.
   Given what  is now known   about the emotional
aspects of the human-animal bond, and the empirical
experiences of that bond by the millions of companion
animal caretakers, it is not surprising that when a vet-
erinarian is thought to have negligently or intentionally


harmed  a pet, the custodian seeks some  kind of
recourse. Often a complaint is made to the licensing
authorities or the Better Business Bureau. Sometimes,
print advertisements are placed, reporting what the vet-
erinarian did, or did not do. Rarely, angry clients even
picket their [former] veterinarians' offices. Mostly,
however, the reaction of choice is a lawsuit-not to
recover damages for their own sake, but to expose the
veterinarian's conduct, to prevent harm to future
patients, and to punish him financially.
   Once virtually unheard of, in the past two decades
the number of civil lawsuits brought against veterinari-
ans for negligent or intentional harm to companion ani-
mals has soared. Various reasons have been proffered
for this phenomenon, among  them  the information
                                Continued on page 5

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