The legislature hereby finds and declares that the relationships that humans develop with other members of the animal kingdom that are taken into our homes and kept as pets are unique and special. These relationships can enrich our lives and increase our happiness. Even after the death of a pet, human attachment to the memory of the pet often remains very strong and many people feel the need to memorialize their love for their animal by burying their pet in a pet cemetery. Pet cemeteries, their managers and owners have a special responsibility to their customers who have entrusted their pets' remains with them. These pet cemeteries have a duty to act in an ethical and lawful manner to prevent grieving pet owners from experiencing further any emotional pain or financial manipulation. Perpetrations of fraud against grieving pet owners are unconscionable.Wigmore's wisdom (and mine) -- about the probative force of circumstantial evidence -- was enlisted by the trial judge to help resolve the dispute.
The legislature further finds and declares that the people of this State have a vital interest in the establishment, maintenance and preservation of pet cemeteries and pet crematoriums and the proper operation of the businesses and individuals which own and manage same. This article is determined an exercise of the police powers of this State to protect the well-being of our citizens, to promote the public welfare, to promote the health of the public and to prevent pet cemeteries and pet crematoriums from falling into disrepair and dilapidation and becoming a burden on the community."
Sadly, Dodo -- or, in any event, her former owner -- lost. The pet cemetery prevailed on its counterclaim: "[D]efendant has established by a preponderance of the evidence the existence of an enforceable agreement to pay a yearly charge for the annual care of Dodo's plot and plaintiff's breach thereof. Judgment awarded on defendant's counterclaim in the sum of one-hundred and forty-five dollars, this amount representing unpaid fees for annual care between 2001-2004."
The pet cemetery counterclaimed for breach of contract.