In February of 2007, Mr. Irwin walked his small dog, Peppermint, in his front yard. Mr. Irwin had previously been disabled by stroke and was able to walk only with the assistance of a cane. While Peppermint was doing his daily routine- an unleashed German Shepherd approached the area and came toward Peppermint in his yard. The German Shepherd took Peppermint by the neck and shook him uncontrollably. Mr. Irwin was unable to intervene as he was knocked down in the ensuing chaos. As the owner of the German Shepherd separated the fight, Peppermint ran into the house and was brought to an Emergency Veterinary Center. The small dog was labeled as being in “critical condition” due to the internal injuries he sustained as well as the bruising and dog bites over his body. Emergency surgery was performed that totaled approximately $8,608.05 for treatment.
Mr. Irwin, the Plaintiff, brought suit against the Defendant to recovery veterinary costs that totaled over $8,000.00. The lower court Judge found that these expenses were reasonable and necessary. Defendant appealed claiming that the damages should be “capped” at the market value of the dog, regardless if the expenses for veterinary care exceeded that amount.