Texas court says bereaved dog owners can’t sue

AUSTIN, (AP) — Man's best friend is priceless. But a gone is worth nothing in Texas.

The Texas Supreme ruled Friday that bereaved dog owners can't sue for when someone else is to blame for the death of a pet. A Fort Worth family had challenged the law after an mistakenly euthanized their Labrador retriever in 2009.

Justice Don Willet wrote the 25-page opinion with flourish rarely seen from the state's highest civil court. He opened with a dog-admiring passage from the English poet Lord Byron and opined the heartache wrought by “.”

Yet Willet concluded that “the human-animal bond, while undeniable” doesn't elevate to collecting money for grief.

“Measuring the worth of a beloved pet is unquestionably an emotional determination — what the animal means to you and your family — but measuring a pet's value is a legal determination,” Willet wrote. “We are focused on the latter, and as a matter of law an owner's affection for a dog (or ferret, or parakeet, or tarantula) is not compensable.”

Texas does allow owners to collect damages for wrongfully killed pets that had economic value, such as a prize-winning show dog or a stunt canine.

Jeremy and Kathryn Medlen said equally irreplaceable was their family dog, Avery, although the pet was essentially worthless in terms of market value. Avery wound up at an animal shelter after running away from home, and was mistakenly put down even though a worker at the pound placed a tag on Avery instructing that she not be euthanized.

Adding to the heartbreak, the Medlens had tracked Avery down at the shelter but did not have the $ 80 on hand to retrieve her. When they returned with the cash a few days later, it was too late.

Randy Turner, the family's attorney, said Kathryn Medlen sobbed upon hearing the court's decision.

“They cared about the money. They just wanted to change the law,” Turner said. “This is a huge defeat for our four-legged friends.”

Dogs are considered property under Texas law. Turner argued to the high court in January how that should make collecting sentimental damages for a pet no different than suing for the negligent destruction of family heirlooms.

The nine-member court disagreed in a unanimous opinion.

Yet they weren't without sympathy.

“Even the gruffest among us,” Willet wrote, “tears up (every time) at the end of Old Yeller.”


Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pauljweber

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    • minecraftorpetluver
    • April 6, 2013

    ur dog iis so cute its ugly

    • Rach3lP3ac3
    • April 6, 2013

    ‘cuz that makes sense, right.

    • Hannah Huang
    • April 6, 2013

    @6:35 wat is that guy doin?

    • Susan Hurd
    • April 6, 2013

    the first map was made by a color blind person because i am color blind and the ropes look purple to me

    • zorkain roblox
    • April 6, 2013

    Your dog is so awesome.

    • Bella Binda
    • April 6, 2013

    awww Griffen is so cute <3
    someone correct me if im wrong but Griffen's a shitzu right if so verry cute 😉

    • James Lawless
    • April 6, 2013

    is that an insult or a compliment?

    • colemayo02
    • April 6, 2013

    Griyphon looks like “what the fuck” ha ha lol x)

    • Anthony marinaro
    • April 6, 2013

    My dog does that 2 its becase hes to happy

    • GamerUnleashed
    • April 6, 2013

    The guy did say something wrong, but you’re too self-centered and narrow minded to look past a Youtube avatar.

    > Don’t make assumptions!1111
    > “Trying to look “swag” while actually looking stupid.

    That’s irony if I’ve ever seen it.

    • CalebPorterTV
    • April 6, 2013

    Shih Tzu*

    • hannahcrighton2005
    • April 6, 2013

    Gryphon is cute, he looks like my Grandad’s dog

    • 7777electric
    • April 6, 2013

    No he didn’t. Insulting people because of hair colour is wrong, regardless of your warped perception of it.

    I’m assuming you don’t know the definition of “irony” or “assumptions”, judging by how you explained them in that reply, not that I should really be judging, because the “1111” in that comment proved me wrong.

    BTW don’t use le meme arrows in that context, makes you look like a 9gag user.

    • GamerUnleashed
    • April 6, 2013

    The more you reply, the more you seem like a child. You think it’s fine to insult somebody on their avatar, but if you talk about somebody’s HAIR COLOR, you can’t do that! Obviously, you were born without a gene that can sense humor. This, or you have a morbid sense of it. As well, green arrows were not created by “9Gag”, and are not called “le meme arrows”. 4Chan brought about the idea, and multiple websites have used it sense.

    GOML, kiddo.

    • 7777electric
    • April 6, 2013

    Please, if you’re going to assume I’m a child, at least have the decency to know when something is unfunny, because you seem like the sort of 12 year old that would still laugh at rape jokes. I’m very much entitled to insult your avatar, due to your complete ignorance of others feelings and use of the word “butthurt”.

    It’s become quite clear you have never heard of the origin of these le meme arrows. They were first found on 9Gag, not 4Chan.

    Don’t call me a kid if you can’t spell “since” right

    • GamerUnleashed
    • April 6, 2013

    You seem like the type of people who walks past homeless shelters, and goes insides and starts bitching, and then starts crying when anybody says something back to them. Toby can’t say something, but YOU can? How self-centered do you have to be to THINK that you have the right to insult somebody, when you just said somebody else can’t? By your logic, I have the right to talk about how much of a douche you are. You repeatedly insult people, claiming that I am ignorant to feelings.

    • Thetranetzkes
    • April 6, 2013

    One time my shih tzu had that problem… He solved it himeself. He jumped into a toilet. True story he was doing the hairball thingy and he went into the bathroom and legit jumped in a toilet. i found him when he barkerd.. haha .. dogs..

    • SargentKyle84
    • April 6, 2013

    What was that disgusting beast-like sound that over sized gerble was making?????? Just kidding, I love you griffin!

    • venusblue26
    • April 6, 2013

    Ur dog is like, LEAVE ME ALONE!

    • Bella Binda
    • April 6, 2013

    my spelling sucks thanks for the correction ^_^

    • April 6, 2013

    When Toby brought his dog to the computer and said, “Awwwwwwwwww, Look at all the levels.”, Gryphon was like: NOT IMPRESSED

    • Alice Martin
    • April 6, 2013

    i laugh so hard. Gryphon is adorable.

    • Riley barber
    • April 6, 2013

    My lhaso apso does the same toby

    • BEAST5297
    • April 6, 2013

    My dog is half chihuahua and half toy poodle, she is very small and she does the same thing, it’s weird

    • Vj7395
    • April 6, 2013

    hey i didnt know toby played tf2. 

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