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Owner’s heartbreak after dog dies and insurance company accuses them of a crime

A heartbroken dog owner whose pet was killed after running out in front of a car has hit out at an insurance company for a “callous and uncompassionate” response.

Sue Kennedy, from Cury near Helston, lost her beloved Yorkshire terrier Bonnie after a horrific accident outside her home. As if having to deal with the loss was not bad enough, she has received a dismissive response from Animal Friends insurance company that even appeared to suggest Sue had been guilty of an offense under the Road Traffic Act.

Sue said: “We’re two weeks on now and the pain is still very much there. I can’t get through a day without breaking down.

Read more: Couple’s trauma as ‘hit-and-run driver’ leaves dog for dead in street

“Throughout our 35-year marriage we have owned dogs, usually two, but sometimes three or four, and anyone who knows us knows our dogs have been the center of our world.

“We have always taken insurance out for them, paid for grooming and kept their inoculations up to date and up to now our dogs have lived to a good age.

“So our world was shattered two weeks ago when my husband following his usual daily routine carried our younger dog Teddy, who is still very excitable, down our garden path to the car with Bonnie trotting along behind him but on this horrendous day a cat walked straight in front of them and Bonnie took flight after the cat straight out of our close to the road that runs through our village.

“My husband called her name but was left to watch helplessly as she was hit by a car, which didn’t stop. The impact killed her instantly and my husband was left to pick up her lifeless body from her while being comforted by our neighbour. ”

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At the time, Sue was visiting her daughter in Devon and returned straight away when she received the awful news.

She added: “We are both broken by the loss of our beautiful Bonnie who was a placid and friendly dog ​​who was loved by everyone who knew her.

“I phoned our insurance company later that day and submitted a claim form for the £200 we believed we were entitled to which would enable us to arrange for a cremation and scatter her ashes on her favorite walk.



Beloved Yorkshire Terrier Bonnie

“Less than a week after the accident, we received a letter from Animal Friends accusing us of committing a criminal offense and declining our claim. We felt like the knife through our hearts since losing Bonnie had been twisted. I followed Animal Friends complaints procedure hoping to find they had some compassion but the decision to refuse payment was upheld.

“I know there will be people who say it was our fault, as the insurance company did, but did we deserve to be told in such a cold and callous way that basically we failed our to ensure the safety of our beautiful Bonnie.

“It is my belief that Animal Friends just needed to find a reason not to pay-out on the policy and reading the highlighted conditions I fail to imagine there is any accident where they would not find a reason to decline an accident claim.”

The letter received by Sue said that any person who permits or causes a dog to be on a designated road is guilty of an offense under the Road Traffic Act 1988.

The letter added that dogs must not be able to escape a property and must be wearing a collar and lead.

Sue added: “I want as many people to know that although they may think their dog is insured, small print means they probably are not.”

An Animal Friends spokesman said: “We are deeply sorry to hear about the tragic passing of Bonnie 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 typically pride ourselves on Delivering at Animal Friends Insurance We did express our condolences to Mrs Kennedy in our subsequent communications however, we understand how this particular letter Mrs Kennedy received could have been distressing at what is an already difficult time.

“An internal review of our customer communications will be carried out to ensure that this does not happen again and we have also just invested in specialist bereavement training with the animal charity, Blue Cross, to ensure that we are providing our customers with the understanding and support they need when experiencing the loss of a pet.”

Sue has set up a fundraiser to pay for Bonnie’s cremation. You can donate here.

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