Dogs Have 'Special Value,' Texas Appellate Court Rules

PetMD Editorial
Published: November 16, 2011
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A Texas appeals court recently ruled that a dog's value is greater than its fair market value.

"Dogs are unconditionally devoted to their owners," the Texas 2nd Court of Appeals stated in their ruling on November 3. "We interpret timeworn supreme court law ... to acknowledge that the special value of 'man's best friend' should be protected."

According to court filings, Jeremy and Katherine Medlen's 8-year-old Labrador mix escaped from their backyard and was picked up by the city's animal control in 2009. Through a series of unfortunate events -- including Mr. Medlen not having enough cash in hand to pay fees and the animal control employees not placing a "hold-for-owner" tag on the dog's cage -- Avery was euthanized by the city soon thereafter.

The Medlens subsequently sued for "sentimental or intrinsic" damages.

Many pet owners have exhibited great joy in the court's ruling. However, some worry that it could affect Texas veterinarians and other dog-oriented businesses by making them more susceptible to large lawsuits should something happen to a dog.

Image (not the Medlens): Dmitriy Shironosov / via Shutterstock

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Courthouse News Service