A DEVASTATED dog owner whose pet was killed after being hit by a car has been cruelly told by the insurance company it was THEIR fault.
Sue Kennedy’s world was ‘shattered’ when her beloved Yorkshire terrier Bonnie ran down the road outside her home in Helston, Cornwall and was fatally shot.
While wading through grief over losing her canine companion, she says their callous insurance company then blamed her for Bonnie’s death.
The aptly named firm Animal Friends refused to pay their claim and harshly insinuated that Sue had been guilty of a traffic violation.
The dog lover explained that she and her husband have cared for countless puppies during their 35-year marriage, describing their pets as “the center of our world”.
She said: “We have always taken out insurance for them, paid for grooming and kept their vaccinations up to date and so far our dogs have lived to a good age.”
But two weeks ago, her husband carried their young dog, Teddy, to the car while Bonnie trotted behind them.
Sue explained: “On that awful day, a cat walked right past them and Bonnie ran after the cat, straight out of our proximity to the road through our village.
“My husband called her but was left to watch helplessly when she was hit by a car, which did not stop.
“The impact killed her instantly and my husband had to pick up her lifeless body while being comforted by our neighbour.”
Sue returned from Devon where she was visiting her daughter after hearing the tragic news that her ‘beautiful Bonnie’ had died.
“We are both heartbroken by the loss,” she said.
“I phoned our insurance company later that day and submitted a claim form for the £200 we thought we were entitled to, which would allow us to arrange a cremation and scatter his ashes during of his favorite walk.”
But a week after their beloved dog died, Sue says she received a letter from Animal Friends “charging us with a criminal offense and denying our claim”.
We felt like the knife in our hearts after losing Bonnie had been twisted.
The owner continued: “We felt like the knife in our hearts after losing Bonnie had been twisted.
“I went through the Animal Friends complaints process hoping to find they were sympathetic, but the decision to withhold payment was upheld.
“I know there will be people who will say it was our fault, like the insurance company did, but did we deserve to be told in such a cold and insensitive way that we failed to ensure the safety of our beautiful Bonnie.
“I think Animal Friends just needed to find a reason not to pay the police.
“Reading the conditions highlighted, I can’t imagine there being an accident where they wouldn’t find reason to deny an accident claim,” Sue fumed.
“We’re two weeks away now and the pain is still very much. I can’t go a day without collapsing.”
The letter Sue received stated that anyone who allows or compels a dog to be on a designated road is guilty of an offense under the Road Traffic Act 1988.
‘READ THE SMALL FEATURES’
He also warned that dogs must not be able to escape from property and must wear a collar and leash.
A grief-stricken Sue said: ‘I want as many people as possible to know that even if they think their dog is insured, the fine print means they probably aren’t.
She has since started a Crowdfunder page in an effort to give Bonnie the send off she deserves.
A spokesperson for Animal Friends said: “We are deeply sorry to learn of Bonnie’s tragic passing and understand how devastating it is to lose a pet.
“The claim outcome letter sent to Mrs. Kennedy was not of the high standard that we are generally proud to deliver at Animal Friends Insurance.
“We expressed our condolences to Ms. Kennedy in our subsequent communications, but we understand how upsetting this particular letter Ms. Kennedy received could have been in an already difficult time.
“An internal review of our customer communications will be carried out to ensure this does not happen again and we have also just invested in specialist bereavement training with animal charity, Blue Cross, to to ensure that we provide our customers with the understanding and support they need when dealing with the loss of a pet.”