Monday, November 28, 2011

Should we recognize a cause of action for loss of a pet?

Courts have traditionally held that animals are "chattels" and that there is no cause of action for emotional distress, loss of companionship and the like when they are injured by others. Usually, if a cause of action is recognized, the injuries are valued based on the "market value" of the animal.

I don't think anyone would question that owners feel affection for their pets and that injuries to pets can cause their owners sadness, grief and emotional distress. Thus, I really don't see why owners should not have to right to try to claim these types of injuries.

The reason I am writing about this today is that the TortsProf blog recently reported that the Texas Court of Appeals has held "that the owners of a mistakenly euthanized dog can sue to recover the sentimental value of their lost pet."  The case is called Medlen v. Strickland and it is available here.

For more on this story go to Courthouse News Service and the Animal Law Blog.

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