Potential clients often call with complaints related to their vet or a shelter where they obtained their family pet. Complaints range from obtaining a shelter pet with an incurable disease, or a disease that will require extensive treatment, to a vet supposedly handling the remains of a deceased pet improperly. These clients of course love their pets and are looking for recourse when something has occurred that they believe should be compensated for by the wrongdoing party. Unfortunately, Iowa law views pets as property and therefore injury to pets will not be treated the same as injury to a person. There is no pain and suffering for either the pet or the owner. It would be treated the same as the loss of a car for instance. The car is not viewed as having feelings, and the owner is not viewed as having suffered from the loss of the car. Loss of property, or pet, is based purely on cash value. Whatever the cost of the property, or pet, is the amount that may be received for its loss or damage. In the case of a shelter pet, for example, the shelter may offer to replace the pet with a new one, and that is a fair outcome when considering the property value aspect of pet ownership. While this is not what pet owners want to hear, it is the current law in this state, although there is always some discussion that the law could change. If enough people feel strongly about it and contact their legislators, someday a change may occur in the law.
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