Missouri City, TX asked in Personal Injury and Animal / Dog Law for Missouri

Q: My dog just died from eating berries off a lantana plant in the backyard of the home I've been renting since June. Sue?

My landlord never advised that plants on property were toxic to dogs. I accumulated about $2,500 in vet bills trying to save my dog to no avail. Can I ask my landlord to reimburse?

1 Lawyer Answer
Ronald J. Eisenberg
Ronald J. Eisenberg
  • Chesterfield, MO
  • Licensed in Missouri

A: I am sorry that your dog got poisoned, but I'm not aware of any Missouri case on point. My gut feeling is that a landlord is not under a duty to advise a tenant of plants that are toxic to animals. Here is a link to an old Missouri Court of Appeals case, Grimmeissen v. Walgreen Drug Stores, 229 S.W.2d 593 (Mo Ct. App. E.D. 1950) that discusses a landlord's duties when a tenant is harmed by defects on the premises. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=11374725331982709720&q=landlord+dangerous+%22duty+to+disclose%22&hl=en&as_sdt=4,26

If your landlord knew of the poisonous plant and fed the plant to your pet, I believe the landlord would be liable. I doubt your landlord even knew of the toxicity and I suspect you too were unaware. Had you know, you would not have allowed your beloved dog to eat the plant.

Finally, to answer your specific question: Yes, you can ask your landlord to reimburse you. Anyone can ask anything.

If you landlord declines your request, which is likely, you are free to sue your landlord in small claims court so long as your lease does not contain a binding arbitration provision.

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