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Guard against lawsuits
When it comes to protecting your practice from lawsuits, you're your practice's best line of defense.
Schroeder, our miniature poodle, was little more than a puppy when he was blinded by the careless snip of a groomer's scissors. Soon afterward, a heavy, scab-like substance formed over his left eye. As a curious 6-year-old, I remember peering into the scab. I would swear I saw a mischievous twinkle behind the crusty glob. Sadly, Schroeder wasn't the first—or the last—pet to suffer injury in the hands of professionals.
Accidents happen. But according to an August Wall Street Journal article, a high number of reported grooming accidents, including dogs overheating and dying in cages, has caught the eye of the press and lawmakers.
This scrutiny is an important reminder. You may see thousands of pets each week, but to the owner who's holding the leash, there's only one top dog, and it's theirs. It also brings a cautionary tale—a closer bond between pets and people means you're at greater risk for lawsuits.
When Schroeder was injured more than two decades ago, my mother never dreamed of suing, although she did stop payment on the check. My mom lost faith in groomers—she never took Schroeder to a groomer again. For the next several years his salon was our back yard and his hairstylist was my mother. A thousand apologies may have never convinced her to take our dog to the groomer again. But today, you don't only need to worry about losing a client like my mother—you need to worry about lawsuits.
Everyone misses on a nail trim once in a while. And serious accidents can happen. You can only do your best—assist the doctor in practicing high-quality medicine, know your areas of risk, take the right precautions, and communicate effectively when something goes wrong.
Today, lawyers who specialize in animal law are winning big in the courtroom—and that's a little scary. Be watchful. Be careful. And be compassionate. You're your practice's best line of defense.