A dog owner is suing the owner of a Siberian Husky that killed his pet chihuahua.
Wade Heintzelman, the owner of a long-haired Chihuahua named Fox recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mohammad Alam, the owner of Terry, a two-year-old Siberian Husky. Terry and Fox met at the Canyon RV Park, but tragically that meeting ended when Terry bit Fox and killed him.
According to Heintzelman, the fatal attack occurred when he was taking Fox for a walk around dusk. During the walk, Terry allegedly ambushed them. After knocking Heintzelman down, Terry lunged for Fox and grabbed him with his mouth before chomping down. The suit states:
“When Terry let go of Fox, Heintzelman picked up Fox and rushed him to the Orange County Pet Emergency Clinic. Unfortunately, Fox passed away in Heintzelman’s arms prior to arriving at the clinic.”
As a result of the traumatizing incident, Heintzelman is suing for courthouse compensation and claims Fox had been the “equivalent of a child to him after raising it from a puppy.” Heintzelman also argues in his suit that Alam, “who had been staying at the same RV Park, is guilty of gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and wrongful injury to an animal.” David Miller, the lawyer representing Heintzelman, also noted that signs hung up around the park stated that pets were only allowed if they were kept on leashes. Additionally, a “county ordinance requires dog owners to exercise due care in public spaces by using either a chain or a leash of no longer than six feet as a restraint.” The suit further states:
“At the time the defendant willfully released Terry and Bear (Alam’s other Siberian Husky) onto public property he knew that there were other dogs on the property to which Terry and Bear could pose a great risk of harm or death. The plaintiff is informed and believes that [Alam] knew that Terry had tendencies that would present a severe risk of harm to much smaller dogs, such as Fox.”
In addition to filing the suit, Heintzelman claims Alam has paid what is “considered a pittance for animal cruelty.” The suit states, “[Alam’s] representative poured salt in Mr. Heintzelman’s open wound by offering to pay just $245 as compensation, a gesture that was a malicious degradation of Fox’s value and that Alam knew or should have known would severely exacerbate his mental suffering that he had caused.”
Alam’s lawyer, James Zurawski, has so far pushed back against the lawsuit. According to him, “Fox ran at Terry, who hadn’t been intentionally unleashed but rather had somehow broken free without his client’s knowledge.” He added:
“Damages for wrongful injury to animals are contrary to current law…It cannot be the policy of California law to grant greater rights in relations with pets than it does in relations with children and other human loved ones, and there is no authority supporting such an extension of liability.”