Woman Sues Garbage Company After Dog Gets Sick

Waste Management

Cindy Simons, a retired librarian from Castro Valley, California, is suing garbage hauler Waste Management. She alleges the company’s three week lockout of truck drivers has created a public nuisance.

She claims that her dog got severely ill from eating rotting garbage. Simons said that Waste Management didn’t pick up her garbage from July 2-23 even though Simons and her neighbors made repeated calls to the company about the increasing piles of trash.

In her lawsuit, Simon says that her 10-year-old golden retriever, Pele, got out of the backyard on July 16, ate garbage that had spilled out of an overflowing can on the street, and became sick.

Simons said that Pele was listless and had a fever. She took him to the vet and Pele was treated with antibiotics and intravenous fluids for dehydration. The vet costs were $400.

From SF Gate:

Company spokeswoman Monica Devincenzi said Thursday that Waste Management will not charge customers for missed services, and those who have already paid their summer bills will be provided refunds or credits for missed pickups once the lockout ends.

She said she had not seen Simons’ lawsuit and could not comment on it.

“We want to make sure our customers are treated as fairly as possible,” Devincenzi said, adding that the number of complaints about missed pickups have gone down in recent days as the company has brought on more replacement drivers and trucks.

Simons’ suit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court on behalf of herself and thousands of other Waste Management customers in the East Bay, seeks monetary damages and restoration of full garbage, recycling and yard waste pickups as well as refunds for missed service for Waste Management customers such as herself.

Simons said Pele is back in good health.

“I thought it seemed so unfair, watching the rotting garbage pile on the street,” Simons said. “When Pele got into it and got so sick, it really made me think this is a health hazard. It’s not a good thing. I’m frustrated and disgusted. I hope that people won’t have to pay for service they didn’t get.”

8 Responses to “Woman Sues Garbage Company After Dog Gets Sick”

  1. Robert Davis says:

    From a plaintifs points of view: they should have picked up the trash. By not doing so they became negligent by allowing that garbage to sit and pile up and have failed to fulfill a contract to pick up garbage for pay.

    From a defendents point of view: customers knew there was a lockout and they should have made other arrangements, like driving the trash to a local waste mgt facility (pretty weak argument though since they are the ones being paid to pick up the trash and the plaintiff should not have to be put out for them failing to provide the service they are contracted to do)

    They should just pay her the vet bills and provide some free service for all the trouble ;-)

    Glad this lady stood up for her rights and filed suit. Glad the dog is okay.

  2. Takami826 says:

    It’s sad her dog got sick but his care is HER responsibility. WM did not feed the dog the rotting trash, she let her dog run out of control.

  3. Merlin Marshall says:

    Granted the trash should have been picked up and the trash company owes at least a refund on payment for uncollected trash.

    On the other hand, the woman is responsible for controlling her dog, and since she knew the trash was sitting out festering, she should have made sure her dog was not able to get in it. This isn’t a problem she could not have prevented with a bit of common sense. I see the vet bills as her problem for not protecting her dog.

  4. Phoebe says:

    I don’t think the owner’s lawsuit involves reimbursement for the vet bills, but just in case I misread it:

    Getting a refund for services that were never provided is one thing. Waste Management should refund those charges immediately. Getting vet bills covered for something that the owner could have - and should have - prevented is quite another. The owner is completely responsible for the costs associated with her dog eating the garbage after he “got out of the backyard”. If he’d bitten a person rather than just the trash, she’d be responsible for that, so why not the vet bills? If he’d run into the street and been hit by a car would she sue the driver?

    That said, garbage strikes are revolting and I hope this ends quickly for all concerned.

  5. Katie says:

    The neighbors should have made alternate arrangements to remove their trash. I don’t blame WM for her sick dog. Her dog should have been under control.


  6. Sharon says:

    The illness never would have happened if the owner was a responsible pet parent. Too many people are all too willing to blame other people for their own mistakes.

  7. Dawn says:

    Maybe she should also sue the person who fenced in her yard since it couldn’t contain her dog. There is a good possibility the same thing could have happened if there was no strike and the dog got into the neighbors trash or even into her own trash.

  8. Tim F-W says:

    You rock. World needs more souls like you.

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