Advancing Law for Animals secured emotional distress compensation for a customer of a major international airline after the airline lost a dog it had accepted as a passenger.
The dog’s human companion feared his beloved family pit bull was stolen for dog fighting, as the dog oddly disappeared at the airport before takeoff. Advancing Law for Animals sought damages for the loss of the family dog, as well as emotional distress. Courts generally don't award damages for emotional distress in connection with the loss of companion animals, as companion animals are typically regarded as property. Despite this legal hurdle, Advancing Law for Animals secured a settlement that awarded emotional distress damages to the human companion—in an amount far greater than the “property value” of the dog. "We hope this kind of litigation forces airlines to improve policies and procedures relating to the transport of animals," explains Advancing Law for Animals co-founder and co-director Ryan Gordon. Note that the identity of the airline is to remain confidential pursuant to the terms of the settlement agreement reached between the parties.