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Old 02-28-2007
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Default $9,500 Settlement in Dog Death

$9,500 settlement in dog death
Company's garbage truck ran over pet

February 28, 2007
BY DAN ROZEK Staff Reporter
Her dog, Juno, always tried to protect her, Ethel Untermeyer said, even though the miniature black Schipperke was no larger than a cat.

"When I'd sit down at the table, she'd just plant herself on my lap, like my protector," the 81-year-old Untermeyer recalled. "She was serious about it."

The bond between the two was shattered four years ago when Juno was killed by a garbage truck as Untermeyer walked the dog on a leash near her home in north suburban Riverwoods.

Upset by the gruesome death of her beloved companion in front of her eyes, Untermeyer filed a lawsuit against truck owner Waste Management Inc., seeking damages for emotional distress.

In an unusual settlement that was announced Tuesday, the company agreed to pay $9,500 to compensate Untermeyer for the loss of her 7-year-old pet.

The settlement is important to her because it provides some recognition that she has suffered emotionally because of the loss of her feisty, 12-pound companion.

Breaks legal precedent

"She was just so dear and her death was so awful," Untermeyer said, her voice breaking as she talked about Juno. "You never thought about her dying -- she was so vibrant and alive."

Illinois courts traditionally have ruled that dogs are personal property -- and that their owners aren't entitled to payment for emotional suffering when the animals are killed, said attorney Thomas G. Gardiner, who represented Untermeyer in her lawsuit.

That legal tradition needs to change, Gardiner said.

"The courts need to recognize that dogs are important family members and that the grief experienced by the death of a pet is genuine," Gardiner said.

That's true in Untermeyer's case -- despite having dogs for much of her life, she said she hasn't wanted another dog since Juno's death.

"You can't bring her back and you can't buy another one like her," Untermeyer said.

Waste Management representatives couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.




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Old 02-28-2007
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Default Re: $9,500 Settlement in Dog Death

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Originally Posted by Poopahbit
$9,500 settlement in dog death
Company's garbage truck ran over pet

The bond between the two was shattered four years ago when Juno was killed by a garbage truck as Untermeyer walked the dog on a leash near her home in north suburban Riverwoods.
Hmmm...

On leash, yet killed by a garbage truck, weird. I wonder if the truck went out of control, jumped the curb, and ran the dog over or if the dog wandered out into the street into the path of the garbage truck?

If it's the former I can understand the lawsuit. If it's the latter, I wonder why the owner didn't keep a tighter eye on what her dog was doing. Don't get me wrong, I feel bad either way, but it seems nobody wants to take responsibility for their actions anymore, a trend that seems to be worsening. I guess this could have taken place in a crosswalk where the dog and owner had a right to be at, but as with most of these stoires the media feeds us, we'll likely never know the full story...

Jeff
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