Texas Supreme Court bars sentimental value suits from dog owners
The Texas Supreme Court ruled on Friday that bereaved dog owners cannot file lawsuits calling for their pets’ sentimental value.
The Dallas Morning News reported on Friday that, per the ruling, dog owners can only be legally compensated for the market cost of their pets.
“Under Texas common law, the human-animal bond, while undeniable, is uncompensable,” Justice Don R. Willett wrote in the court’s unanimous decision, which reversed a ruling by the state 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth.
The lower court’s ruling allowed a Fort Worth couple, Jeremy and Kathryn Medlen, to sue a local animal shelter for mistakenly euthanizing their dog, Avery, in 2009. The dog had escaped the Medlens’ home during a storm and was picked up by the shelter.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the shelter mistakenly put Avery to sleep while Jeremy Medlen was getting the money needed to claim him.
The couple’s attorney, Randy Turner, told KXAS-TV that they wanted to change the existing state guidelines more than any monetary compensation.
“You can recover the sentimental value of a photo of your dog if it’s destroyed, but you cannot recover the sentimental value of a dog if it’s destroyed,” Turner said.
Watch KXAS’ report on the ruling, aired Friday, below.
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