Is it sufficient compensation when the man who shot your dog is ordered to do 100 hours of community service, a year's probation, pay for vet bills and cremation ($4000) resulting from his harmful and criminal act? According to Denis and Sarah Scheele of Annapolis, that isn't enough.
The culprit is 76-yr old Lewis Dustin ( Vine Street, Northfield, Vermont ) who shot the Scheele's dog, Shadow, with an air gun when it wandered into Dustin's lawn. The Scheeles were visiting relatives in Vermont. This stupid, old man pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges after claiming he didn't mean to kill the dog, that he meant to shoot its rear end and not its heart. Well, why don't we just forget it then! It's all perfectly acceptable. Dustin only meant to shoot the dog in the ass! A little scratch here and there and things should be alright. I get it now; I get it.
The Scheeles argued that the loss of a companion pet like Shadow isn't like losing inanimate personal property. True, dogs love us back unlike cars, furniture, clothes, or television sets. Animals are sentient beings, and they react very much like us in terms of fear, pain, happiness, loneliness, expectation, and gratitude. The pain of losing a loved one, including an animal, is more than the loss of chattel property. When someone kills our pet, we've lost a personal relationship, a partner in life, and their premature departure ushers in a period, sometimes years-long, of depression and agony. This is the gist of the Scheeles' lawsuit. In my book, that's murder. No decision is expected until after Spring of 2010.