PHOENIX (CN) – A veterinarian does not owe damages for emotional distress over a dead pet bird, an Arizona appeals court ruled.
David Kaufman sued Dr. William Langhofer and Scottsdale Veterinary Clinic after the death of Salty, his scarlet macaw.
Salty was considered by those who met her to be an intelligent, affectionate, playful bird. She accompanied Kaufman to work and interacted with his customers, and was even a part of family holidays.
Kaufman says Langhofer performed a pair of operations on Salty, curing an intestinal prolapse but leaving her with a uterine prolapse. She died in 2005 after living with Kaufman for nine years.
Kaufman sued Langhofer for professional negligence and wrongful death, as well as destruction of personal property.
He also sued the vet for “the special damages of severe emotional distress and/or emotional pain and suffering.”
The trial court only found Langhofer to be 30 percent at fault and awarded him no damages. Judge Patricia Norris agreed on appeal.
“Arizona law is consistent with the majority position classifying animals as personal property and limiting damages for their negligent injury or death to their fair market value,” she wrote.