Hit and Run Involving Animals
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On June 13, 2017, we lost our beloved dog Rocky. It started like every morning we woke up and started getting ready for school and work and most importantly taking Rocky for his morning walk. As I started our walk, Rocky spotted a cat and following his instincts he decided to chase it. This is nothing new and usually I would lock the leash and pull him away from the cat but this morning was different. As I locked the leash and he pulled forward, the leash malfunctioned, broke and he got away. The cat ran across the road and our Rocky followed him right into an on coming SUV. I saw the SUV running over him and immediately the driver drove away. Our Rocky was pronounced dead when we arrived at the vet.
There are no words that can describe how we all feel or how his death impacted our family. The loss and heartbreak we feel is unimaginable.
The same day, we called the City Enforcement, Humane Society, and the Police. We were shocked to learn that our domestic animals have no rights when it comes to car accidents. We understand that this is not the driver’s fault in this particular case since our dog did run into the street and the driver had no chance to stop. Our issue is that the driver left without checking on the animal which would have been the proper & humane thing to do.
We also found that there is of a sort a double standard when it comes to domestic pets. Pets are considered the property of their owners same as your house, car or the tree on your front lawn. But here is the double standard; if someone damages your property, they must remain at the scene and report the accident to authorities; otherwise they will be charged with leaving the scene and possibly face criminal charges. But if they hit your pet, they are not obligated to do anything. If you hit a dog in anger or mistreat a dog, you can be charged with animal cruelty but hitting the animal with your car and leaving the scene of the accident and letting the pet suffer in pain or die is legal.
We would like to recommend the following changes to the Highway Traffic Act:
1. If you hit a wild animal with your car you must notify the Humane Society so that they can dispatch the proper personal to treat the animal appropriately.
2. If you hit a domestic animal with your car you must stop, check on the animal and take the animal to a vet unless the owner of the animal is at the scene and he/she is able to provide the proper care. If not offer assistance.
3. Failure to do the above will result in a fine and possibly animal cruelty charges. Furthermore, we recommend that a portion of the fine be given to the Humane Society or any other animal related charities.
We would also like to see the following change to insurance policies in specific property insurances:
1. If domestic animals are considered property, then they should be treated as such under the property insurance policy and this could be an add-on option to your policy. If your pet is hurt by a car, the insurance should cover the vet costs associated with the accident.
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