orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

January 10, 2013

Euthanized dog puts emotional value to Texas court

Associated Press
The Orange Leader

AUSTIN, Texas — Does man's best friend have sentimental value under Texas law?

That's the question the Texas Supreme Court on Thursday will tackle in a case being closely watched by animal-rights advocates. It involves a Fort Worth family whose Labrador escaped from home in 2009 and was mistakenly euthanized at a local animal shelter.

Jeremy and Kathryn Medlen say they're entitled to sentimental damages even though the dog had little market value. They sued shelter worker Carla Strickland, who put the dog on the euthanasia list.

Strickland's attorneys have told the state's highest civil court that the family is wrong about who can collect damages for lost property. They argue that unlike irreplaceable family heirlooms, "there is an endless supply of dogs that can serve the same purpose" to an owner.