What is a cat worth?
I am talking about suing a neighbour who has shot and paralyzed your cat with an airgun. You know he did it. You spend $36,000 on emergency treatment and surgery and eventually your cat learns to walk again (see the story)
The county court said that you can only recover the market value of the your cat.
In other words the cat is treated as a piece of inanimate metal such as a toaster. We know this. It dates back hundreds of years.
An appeal was made. The appeal court was slightly more enlightened and said that the cat’s owner could also recover the cost of veterinarian expenses. Better but not enough. In fact it was too little too late for the owner as it took so long to get that judgement the cat had died in the meantime.
What is missing in assessing financial compensation is the emotional distress suffered by the cat’s “owner” and in a more enlightened age you could also factor in the emotional distress suffered by the cat.
Both are natural consequences of the injury to the cat. Compensation in personal injury cases concerning people include such factors despite being difficult to measure and quantify.
Most people consider their cat a member of the family. There is a close bond. A violent death or bad injury to the cat has serious emotional implications.
I don’t see why there can’t be a fixed sum assigned to the assessment of financial compensation that recognizes this emotional factor. To simplify things an automatic presumption could be made that there will be emotional distress and the amount reflecting this would be fixed as mentioned.
Many will see this as far fetched and unworkable. Fine. I don’t.