Judgment May Set Dog-Value Precedent

Judge holds cleaning company responsible for $65,000 in damages over loss of dog.

Ruthie and FamilyA judge has ruled in favor of Denver resident Robin Lohre and awarded her a judgment valued over $65,000 for the death of her 18-month-old dog Ruthie.

According to attorneys with the Animal Law Center, when Lohre asked if she could leave her dog at home during a 3-hour home cleaning, she was assured by the company, Posh Maids, that this would not be a problem. But a routine cleaning turned into a nightmare.

Despite Lohre’s instructions not to let the dog out of the house, Ruthie allegedly made it outside where she was hit and killed by a car. Ruthie was then placed underneath the dining room table where she was found when Lohre returned.

When Lohre called Posh Maids, she was told that Ruthie had been struck by a car and that the employees had placed her underneath the table and left her alive and “whimpering a little.”

In an interview with  ABC 7NEWS, the owner of Posh Maids, Miranda Pallone, stated she was waiting for Lohre to return home before contacting a vet. She says that the dog ran back inside after being hit by the car and was growling at the maids from under the table. She then had the maids leave the house as they would in the case of any “aggressive dog situation.” Pallone also stated that she offered $2,000 to Lohre for the loss of Ruthie after Lohre requested $25,000.

The court held the Denver-based cleaning company Posh Maids responsible for the negligent death of Ruthie.

“The ruling sets a damages precedent that animals are worth more than their replacement value,” says Jennifer Edwards, attorney and founder of The Animal Law Center. “When we lose a pet, we do suffer emotional distress and heartache, just as we would with any other member of our families.”

Typically in the past animals, including dogs and cats, have been considered property and damages limited to fair market value.

“I am pleased with the court’s decision,” said Robin Lohre. “It doesn’t bring back Ruthie, but it does acknowledge the loss that my daughter and I experienced.”

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