Much has been written in recent years regarding the important role pets play in our society and the legal consequences that have developed from that relationship. Both our courts and legislatures have recognized, in certain circumstances, the ability of a pet owner to recover from a wrongdoer in the event of negligent or intentional conduct that results in the death or injury of a companion animal. However, securing a damages award and recovering on a judgment secured may present the aggrieved pet owner with two entirely different challenges. Liability insurance coverage is critical to the latter concern. Although results can vary considerably by jurisdiction, questions such as the definition of covered damages and the operation of the intentional acts exclusion are likely to play a key role in any analysis. This paper provides a broad overview of some of the larger issues regarding coverage applicability, and illustrates the possible application of these principals by applying them to the facts of cases which have found damages for pet owners where their animals have been injured or killed as a result of negligent, reckless or intentional conduct.
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