I watched someone’s dog while they went on vacation and it died of heat exhaustion can they sue my landlords home owners insurance for their dog dying?
How very sad. Pet-sitters whose failure to properly care for an animal resulted in the animal’s death may be sued and may be held liable. While it is common for courts to award compensatory damages, such as for the value of an animal and veterinary expenses to treat an animal who was negligently or intentionally harmed or killed, Texas courts have generally held that loss of companionship and emotional distress cannot be recovered when an animal is harmed or killed. However, there is a growing trend by courts to consider the human/animal bond. Therefore, past court decisions may not always be a predictor of how a court might decide cases involving the loss of an animal. Also, depending on the facts and circumstances, if the court determines that a pet-sitter’s actions were egregious, the court, in addition to awarding compensatory damages for the loss of an animal, may award punitive damages (which are similar to a fine to punish a person whose actions were grossly negligent or intentional). A homeowner’s insurance policy should be reviewed but may or may not include coverage, in which case the homeowner would typically be responsible for paying an attorney he/she retained to handle the case and paying any monetary award ordered by the court. While people can sue a pet-sitter’s landlord, who may refer the lawsuit to his/her insurance carrier, the landlord would not normally be responsible for a pet-sitter’s negligence or intentional act against an animal. Criminal charges may also be brought against a pet-sitter or anyone else in charge of an animal whose action or inaction resulted in the animal dying of heat exhaustion.
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