Washington Man Awarded $100,000 Settlement for Dog Killed by Neighbor

Jim Anderson is a 56-year-old bachelor whose best friend was Chucky, the beloved 7-year-old English Springer Spaniel he’d had since he was a puppy. The two were inseparable, rarely spending more than a few hours apart on farmland in Eltopia, Wa.

Anderson trained Chucky to fetch sodas from the refrigerator, climb ladders and ride on the back of his motorcycle. Chucky understood more than 100 commands.

“He was one in a million,” Anderson told the Seattle Times. “I never did think he was a dog. He amazed me every day.”

In March 2014, Chucky ran off to investigate gunfire he heard from neighbor Scott Hayles’ yard. Anderson could see Hayles and his three sons shooting clay pigeons in the air with a pellet gun.

When Chucky didn’t return home after the shooting stopped, Anderson became worried. After searching all night for him, Anderson found Chucky in an orchard the next morning, dying of BB and pellet wounds.

Hayles initially told police he didn’t own a BB gun, but later admitted he had a pneumatic weapon that fired both BBs and pellets. If Hayles had let Anderson know he or one of his sons had accidentally shot Chucky, the dog might have survived. But by the time Anderson found him and rushed him to an animal hospital, it was too late. Chucky died of his injuries.

Anderson filed a civil lawsuit citing negligent harm to property, fraudulent concealment and other claims. He sought damages including the intrinsic value of Chucky, the loss of use of his dog and reimbursement for veterinary bills.

Jury Unanimously Decides to Award Anderson

In August 2015, the Hayles family decided to appeal a $21,400 arbitration award to Anderson. The arbitrator had stated he was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that Hayles or one of his sons had accidentally shot Chucky.

Nearly two and a half years after Chucky’s death, a trial was held this month at the Franklin County Superior Court. The jury – most of whom were dog owners – decided unanimously to award $100,000 to Anderson, including over $36,000 for emotional distress and $10,500 for Chucky’s instrinsic value. The remainder was to cover his attorney’s fees.

“I believe it’s the largest jury verdict in Washington for the death of a dog,” Anderson’s attorney, Adam Karp, who specializes in animal law, told the Times.

Anderson, who now has a new dog named Gomer, would much rather have Chucky than all that money. “I’d make a deal with the devil to get him back,” he told the Times. “Give back the award, and my right arm.”

Another Six-Figure Settlement for a Dog Death This Year

This was the second six-figure settlement for a wrongly killed dog this year. In January, the largest settlement of this kind in U.S. history was made when a Colorado man received $262,500 for the death of his therapy dog Chloe, who was shot and killed by a police officer.

“Colorado civil law does not allow pet owners to recover losses for a pet that exceed its face value, but recent federal court cases citing violations of the Fourth Amendment, loss of property, have changed the landscape in pet law,” FOX31 Denver reported.

As Chucky and Chloe proved, dogs as well as other pets are worth much more than their fair market value to their owners. Some states are beginning to realize this, but the landscape in pet law needs to be changed across the country.

Photo credit: Hhoefling

288 comments

John Doucette
John Doucette1 years ago

How many wounds did Chucky have? Accident would be one or two. Anything more than that would be deliberate. They must have known that Chucky belonged to their neighbor. It was really heartless that they let Chucky lay there dying. The money awarded won't bring Chucky back but hopefully it sets the stage to tell people that our animals are not disposable creatures, that they are loved and an important part of our lives.

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Wendi M.
Wendi M1 years ago

TYFS How sad
No amount of money will ever make up for what the dog provided but I am so glad to see that it will hurt the person responsible hard

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla1 years ago

So sad the dog is dead... But it is good that they made the killer pay so much money; you touch people's money and they learn!

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Jennifer H.
Jennifer H1 years ago

I would bet this was no accident. Glad to see him lose to a higher settlement. Karma bit him. The sad thing is he had to claim property to get his dog acknowledged in the system. Things must change.

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federico bortoletto

Grazie per la condivisione.......troppo triste!!

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Mia G.
Past Member 1 years ago

thanks for posting this

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Yolanda Aguilar
Yolanda Aguilar1 years ago

There are no words to describe my feelings ... Sadness, frustration ...

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Vikki Drew
Vikki Drew1 years ago

It will never bring this man's best friend back, but, at least he got some justice.The animal abusing cowards should be in jail.
These morons need to be tied to a tree and I'm sure a lot of people would join me in pelting them with a BB gun where it hurts
RIP innocent sweet Chucky

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Connie Palladini
Connie Palladini1 years ago

Thank you for sharing

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Gina M. H.
Gina H1 years ago

Hayles and his sons should all be neutered before they breed more sadists like themselves. The majority of people who use guns intend to kill something if not someone with them. We'll be reading about the boys shooting up a local school or Mosque next with semi-automatic weapons.

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