Penny v. Dave:
Penny loves dogs. All her life she has had two or more dogs. The owner of a high-end womenâ€™s accessories store, Penny decided to celebrate her success and purchase a large home on a large lot in a beautiful area of town. She started rescuing dogsâ€”some from the shelters, some from rescues, and others directly from the streets. She currently has 32 dogs living on her property. She loves them all, provides them with food, water, shelter, appropriate veterinary care, and lots of love.
One of the newer members of Pennyâ€™s pack is Beau (short for Beauregard). Beau is a bloodhound mix Penny found as a puppy on the streets. As Beau has grown up, heâ€™s become very interested in the wildlife that lives around the area. When he smells anythingâ€”rat, opossum, anything wildâ€”he starts baying. He howls continuously at wildlife. Often, his baying lasts for hours.
Dave owns the property next to Pennyâ€™s. He works nights and sleeps during the day. Lately, Beauâ€™s baying has kept him awake. One day, Beau was highly active baying at a racoon in the woods at the edge of the property. Dave was irate. He went to his garage and found some rat bait. He wrapped rat bait in some hamburger and fed it to Beau.
When Penny returned home from work, she found Beau unresponsive in the yard. She rushed him to the veterinarian. The veterinarian suspected poisoning and a blood assay showed he was the victim of rat poison. Rat poison interferes with the bodyâ€™s use of vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting. His blood was not properly clotting, and so Beau was bleeding internally. The veterinarian admitted him and kept him for five days, giving him vitamin K, and protecting him from injuring himself while the poison dissipated. The veterinary bill exceeded $5,000.
Penny was distraught. She cried day and night over poor Beau. She told her neighbor Wendy about what happened. She told Wendy she did not have any poisons at her home, and she was at a loss to determine what happened to Beau. Wendy told Penny she saw Dave feed Beau something the day that Beau fell ill.
Penny asked Dave about it. Dave did not admit or deny having poisoned Beau, but he told Penny, â€œIf the damn dog would learn to be quiet, he probably wouldnâ€™t eat stuff he shouldnâ€™t.â€ Penny realized Dave had poisoned Beau.
- Can Penny successfully sue Dave for trespass to chattels?
- Assuming Penny can be successful in such a suit, what damages can she assert and recover?