An animal hospital and veterinarian have been ordered by the Civil Court to pay 70,000 baht (US$2,086) compensation to the owner of a Labrador retriever that died during surgery. It is believed to be the first case of its kind in Thailand.
A court found both the vet and the hospital guilty of negligence, causing the death of the 11-year-old Labrador retriever, according to the owner’s lawyer.
Despite the fact that the owner of the dog signed a letter of consent enabling the veterinarian hospital to perform the surgery to remove a tumor from its lung, the court ruled that the vet was still required to exercise caution in performing the surgery.
Ms. Thissana Duendao, the Labrador retriever’s owner, told Thai PBS that she sued both the hospital and veterinarian after her dog died two years ago. She felt they refused to accept responsibility and distorted the facts related to the death.
Even though the dog was quite strong and could walk into the operating room by itself, she went ahead with the operation because the vet assured her that the procedure was not dangerous.
Two Year Court Case Over Labrador Retriever
She acknowledged that it may not be easy to sue an animal hospital and that not everyone can do so because of the expense and trauma associated with the loss, which she related every time she appeared in court during the past two years.
During the trial, she admitted to seeing a psychiatrist over the death of her Labrador retriever.
According to the lawyer, this verdict, which is not final, should serve as a lesson to major animal hospitals to exercise caution when performing operations and to observe medical ethics.
According to him, the court made it clear in its ruling that even with the letter of consent from the owner, it was not a blank check.
The court agreed that the Labrador retriever was the owner’s personal property, but the lawyer admitted that it would remain a challenge to prove, to the court’s satisfaction, that the emotional damage caused by the loss of the pet was greater than the material loss.
As a result, the court rejected the dog owner’s demand for one million baht in compensation for mental distress and awarded her just 70,000 baht in compensation for the death of the dog.
According to the lawyer, the court’s verdict is just the first step, as the defendant or plaintiff can appeal it to higher courts.