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EVERY DOG CAN HAVE ITS DAY: EXTENDING LIABILITY BEYOND THE SELLER BY DEFINING PETS AS “PRODUCTS” UNDER PRODUCTS LIABILITY THEORY

Jason Parent


12 Animal L. 241 (2005)
Publish Date:
2005
Place of Publication: Animal Law Review at Lewis & Clark Law School
Printable Version

EVERY DOG CAN HAVE ITS DAY: EXTENDING LIABILITY BEYOND THE SELLER BY DEFINING PETS AS “PRODUCTS” UNDER PRODUCTS LIABILITY THEORY

(pdf file - 139.22 KB)

Is a pet a “product”? A pet is a product for purposes of products liability law in some states, and as this article will show, the remaining states should follow suit. Every year, thousands of “domesticated” animals are sold to consumers who are uninformed as to the animal’s propensities or to the proper method of animal care. In some instances, these animals are unreasonably dangerous in that they spread disease to humans or attack, and possibly kill, unwitting victims. Improper breeding and training techniques and negligence in sales have led to horrific injury. This comment will demonstrate how merely considering pets as products opens up new theories of liability for the plaintiff’s lawyer, offering a deeper base of defendants who are both morally and legally at fault. From the standpoint of a consumer advocate and with concern for both human and animal welfare, the author proposes employing products liability theory to the sale of domesticated animals. By making sellers of “defective” animals accountable for personal injury that these animals cause, the quality of the animals bred and sold will likely improve. Where it does not improve and injury results, the victim may have recourse beyond the confines of contract remedies. Products liability theory is a lawful and needed method for preventing future harm and providing for a healthier human and animal kingdom.

 

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