Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem is suing a veterinarian for neutering his show-quality dog Juice during surgery to remove a swallowed piece of rope.
Haslem spent $30,000 training Juice as a watchdog to protect his family when he is away, said the Broward Circuit Court lawsuit filed Tuesday. An impressive dog he must be. Juice is a brindle Cane Corso, also known as an Italian mastiff. The typical weight range for an adult male is 99 to 110 pounds.
The negligence complaint filed by David Brill of Brill & Rinaldi in Weston said castration was not requested. Stud fees for a typical Cane Corso run $2,500 and champion dogs run $3,500 to $10,000. Puppies sell for $3,500 to $5,000, and breeders can collect semen every day or every other day for five to seven years.
“As a castrated dog, Juice is now too tame to serve in the capacity of a watch dog,” the complaint said. The power forward claims he lost “not only a needed guard dog and $30,000.00 in training fees, but hundreds of thousands or more in lost income” as a future breeder and seller of Juice’s semen.
Brill said, “It is truly remarkable, shocking really, that they can make this kind of mistake.”
Haslem is suing Dr. Marcos Uris and Murbur Inc., which operates LeadER Animal Specialty Hospital in Cooper City led by Dr. Jason Horgan.
The docket did not list attorneys for Uris or the veterinary clinic. The clinic switchboard said Thursday that Uris was in surgery and would not be available for comment. The clinic’s website said Uris “is well known for his compassion, professionalism, attention to detail, eye for research and his diverse surgical experience.”
Settlement was discussed with the clinic and its insurer, but Brill said: “It went very poorly. They apparently believed that the law in Florida is that Mr. Haslem is only entitled to the value of the purchase price of the dog, and that is not the law in Florida.”
The 2-year-old Juice, which was purchased for $5,000, fully recovered from his rope encounter in May, but his personality has been permanently altered. He is no longer able “to muster the same level of aggression necessary to fulfill” his duties as a guard dog, Brill said.
The family had to “get a new dog to train and do that which this dog would have done, and now you’re two years behind,” he said. The family purchased a Boerboel, a South African mastiff named Adonis.
Haslem is a three-time NBA champion in his 15th season with the Heat. The Miami native is credited with helping bring Dwyane Wade back to the Heat this season.