Court of Appeals permits suit for damages for dead dog.
The Fort Worth Court of Appeals has issued a ruling permitting a dog-owner to sue for damages against the animal control employee who negligently euthanized their dog. The dog escaped from its yard and was picked up by animal control. The owner went to reclaim the dog but did not have enough money with him to pay the fees. The animal control officer told him the dog would be tagged and held and would not be euthanized. The employee put the dog on the euthanize list anyway. The dog was killed before the owner could go back and claim it. The dog owner sued the employee for negligently killing the dog. The Fort Worth Court of Appeals held that case law determining that dogs are items of property is outdated. The Texas Supreme Court has held that damages may be recovered for damage to items of sentimental value. So, based on the sentimental value that a family pet has, damages can be recovered for loss of the pet.
So, it would seem that this case opens the possibility for a family pet to be considered as more than just an item of personal property. Maybe the case doesn’t go so far as to support an order for split access to the pet, but it would seem that the spouse who doesn’t get awarded the pet might could request compensation for loss of the sentimental value.
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