Think Twice Before Kicking Your Neighbors’ Pets – It Can Cost You!

Many of us have pets, but it is rare that we actually consider how much can be recovered in a lawsuit if they are injured or killed. In fact, most of us would prefer not to think about our pets getting hurt at all. However, the Maryland legislature has, apparently, spent a considerable amount of time thinking about this issue, going so far as to enact a law covering this very subject. Pursuant to Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article §11-110, a person who causes injury to a pet can be held liable for damages to the owner. If the pet has died, the owner is entitled to the fair market value of the pet before death and the reasonable and necessary cost of veterinary care. If the pet is injured, the owner is entitled to the reasonable and necessary cost of veterinary care only. The law applies to injuries to pets caused by a person, as well as injuries caused by another animal under a person’s direction or control. Which veterinary costs are “reasonable and necessary” is something to be determined by a Court. However, the maximum amount that can be awarded for compensatory damages under the statute is $7,500.00. Distraught pet owners may want to keep this damages cap in mind when deciding whether to keep their pet fish on life support.

Brian Loffredo is a principal in Offit Kurman’s Baltimore/Washington office. If you have any questions about the content of this article or other construction matters, please contact Mr. Loffredo at 301.575.0345 or