Does the Eighth Circuit Hate Dogs and Chiropractors?

By George Khoury, Esq. on November 15, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Dog lovers out there that get unreasonably outraged when bad things happen to good dogs and the court just doesn't seem to understand, might be happier looking at my dog's Instagram than reading this. (She's a good dog).

Mister was surely a good dog. His story is really sad. He sat in the backseat and watched his human get car-jacked. Then, he rode in the backseat until the car was crashed. And the saddest part, Mister died in the crash. Another person was injured too. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals apparently has no compassion and stripped the dog's owner of the restitution award issued by the lower court.

Court Can't Compassion Math

Unfortunately, despite the fact that the carjacker turned accidental dog killer was caught and pleaded guilty and waived his right to appeal (note: photo of dog in link), the restitution that was ordered was appealable. The court had ordered the defendant to pay $1,000 for the death of the dog, and $2,000 in reimbursement for chiropractic care an injured party required.

Notably, the dog's owner and carjacking victim had requested about $15,000, however, the court reduced that down to just $1,000. On appeal, the appellate court ruled that there was not good enough proof sustain even a finding of $1,000, and that the restitution ordered should be vacated. It found that there was no specific evidence showing the cost to replace the lost dog. On the same note, however, the court also vacated the $2,000 for chiropractic care as those were also not proven on the record with specific evidence backing it up.

Interestingly, one dissenting justice noted that he would have upheld the award for the Mister the dog, but not the chiropractic care, because the cost of replacing the dog could be reasonable assumed based on the age of the dog and the average cost of dog ownership over the period of years.

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