my dog bit and killed another dog, the owners are claiming that they and the kids are now having to go to counceling for the emotional distress. Besides compensation for the dog what else can I be liable for?
1 Answer from Attorneys
The law treats dogs as property. You would likely be responsible for paying for the replacement value of the dog. If the dog was a purepred champion who had won awards at dog shows, that could be somewhat expensive. Assuming it was just a regular old dog, the replacement value probably isn't too much.
Under Florida law, the family members cannot claim any damages for emotional distress unless they were actually injured by your dog. In Florida, this is called the "impact rule." If they are just upset that the dog was killed, they cannot recover anything. However, there is one exception to this rule. If a person was in the "zone of danger" when the your dog killed their dog, then they may be able to recover something for emotional distress. This means that if a person was close enough to be bitten himself by your dog while your dog was fighting with their dog, then they might be able to recover something, but probably not too much.
If you have homeowners' insurance, it might pay the other people for their claim for the replacement value of the dog.