View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Sunday, February 09, 2003
Although, there is this monstrosity working its way through the Colorado legislature. Remember, Colorado is considered a bellweather state in tort law, so be prepared.

Look, I have a black labrador retriever of my own, named Sage. I wouldn't sell him for anything. I got him for all the reasons people buy dogs, and he hasn't disappointed in any of them. But he's not a person. He's a dog. It's bad enough that we can name pets in wills. Couldn't there be some provision just requiring that the dog be taken care of? But allowing people to sue vets for $100,000 for "loss of companionship?" I know I'm going to be devastated when Sage goes. He's only 3 1/2, so we've probably got about a decade left together. And I'd be furious at a vet who made enough of a mistake to kill him. But the vets I know love animals, got into the business to help them, and understand and embrace their responsibilities to these creatures. Allowing people to sue them is only going to raise their insurance rates, raise the pressure on them, and increase the scrutiny by and suspicion of owners if nothing can be done.

Also, it's not as though there aren't lots of dogs around to replace the lost one. This may sound callous, but it's true. Half the dogs Sage and I meet walking in the park are from the Dumb Friends League, and as far as I can tell, they do a tremendous job weeding out the problem cases who are likely to cause harm. They're almost uniformly sweet, playful, and friendly. Breeders will tell you that with a purebred, you know what you're getting. Maybe so, but we had a purebred English Cocker for a few months when I was growing up, and he was nothing but trouble. Seems to me you know what you're getting with a Dumb Friends League dog, too.

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