What is my responsibility if I’m a dog trainer who had a dog under my care and became distressed and died?

UPDATED: May 15, 2014

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What is my responsibility if I’m a dog trainer who had a dog under my care and became distressed and died?

I had taken him to a local vet hospital, he was DOA and they tried to revive him,unsuccessfully. I signed in as the owner of the dog and then had to make a decision on what I wanted to do with with the body. I requested cremation. The next day my assistant notified the owner, who was out of town, about what had happened. A friend mentioned that I could face a charge of Criminal Mischief. What should I do?.

Asked on May 15, 2014 under Criminal Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

A criminal act requires a criminal intent: that is, an intention to commit a crime. From what you write, you tried to help/save the dog and did not abuse it; therefore, it is very unlikely you would face criminal charges. Only if there were evidence that you either deliberately or at least recklessly (with no concern for the consequeneces) acted in a way that harmed the animal should you face criminal charges. It is possible that the dogs owner may sue you, if he feels you either were negligtent (careless) in how you cared for the animal, or misrepresented your ability, skill, or facilities, but that is a civil case, for money (e.g. for the value of the dog and anything you were paid), not criminal.

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