Rabideau v. City of Racine

In Rabideau v. City of Racine, 2001 WI 57, 627 N.W.2d 795, 243 Wis. 2d 486 (2001), the plaintiff, whose dog was shot by a police officer after the plaintiff's dog attacked defendant's dog, suggested that compensation should be limited to the "human companion" of an animal who is injured or killed. The court noted, however, "it is difficult to define with precision the limit of the class of individuals who fit into the human companion category. Is the particular human companion every family member? the owner of record or primary caretaker? a roomate?" Id. at 802. Similarly, the same court concluded it would be difficult to identify the class of animals for which a pet owner may recover: We are particularly concerned that were such a claim to go forward, the law would proceed upon a course that had no just stopping point. Humans have an enormous capacity to form bonds with dogs, cats, birds and an infinite number of other beings that are non-human. Were we to recognize a claim for damages for the negligent loss of a dog, we can find little basis for rationally distinguishing other categories of animal companion. [Rabideau, 627 N.W.2d at 799.]