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Posted in In the community on July 18, 2022   |  by Gary Burger

Pro-Bono Justice for Peaches

Burger Law loves animals and we love helping clients in need who cannot afford to pay for an attorney. We recently had the privilege of representing our client, Wayne, pro bono in a small claims case.

Wayne’s 9-year-old dog, Peaches, was minding her own business in Wayne’s yard when three of Wayne’s neighbor’s dogs came onto Wayne’s property and viciously attacked Peaches. Wayne was inside his house at the time of the attack and ran off the three attacking dogs before finding Peaches maimed and in need of immediate medical attention.

Wayne called his next-door neighbor, who helped lift Peaches into Wayne’s truck so Wayne could rush her to the nearby animal hospital. Unfortunately, Peaches was in such bad shape that she was transferred to the closest veterinary emergency clinic.

Peaches was treated with antibiotics and wound care for four days before Wayne ultimately decided to end her suffering and have her put down. Her veterinary treatment cost Wayne thousands of dollars.

Wayne approached his neighbor amicably and asked the neighbor to pay for Peaches’ treatment. Unfortunately, the neighbor refused to help, forcing Wayne to file a claim in small claims court.

After Wayne filed the claim, the neighbor retained a lawyer, which is very uncommon in small claims court—typically claimants represent themselves pro se. Wayne needed help, and he reached out to our firm through his sister, who we have worked with in the past.

Attorney, Michael Sheldon, tried the case before a judge in December of last year and obtained a large judgment for Wayne. However, in small claims court, the party who loses has an automatic right to request one trial de novo (new trial) before a different judge.

The defendant requested a new trial, and Michael tried the case again in June 2022. We just received great news a couple days ago: the new judge awarded Wayne over four thousand dollars!

We are proud to have helped Wayne get some justice for Peaches! From all accounts, Peaches was a sweet, docile dog who minded her business and loved on anyone who gave her attention. While the law cannot bring Peaches back, we hope the judgment helps provide some closure for Wayne and we wish him the best!

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