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Court to Decide How Much a Dog’s Life Was Worth to Family
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Photo courtesy of the Animal Legal Defense Fund

Summary: The issue of determining the actual value of a pet is set to be decided by the Georgia Supreme Court after a case involving a boarding kennel and a dead dog reached their hands.

How does one place value on a family pet? The lawyer for Barking Hound Village kennel is trying to argue that a pet is only valued at its sale value after a customer’s pet died while in the kennel’s care, Fox News reports. The case is now sitting in the hands of the Georgia Supreme Court.


The Monyaks took their two dogs, an 8-year-old dachshund named Lola and an elderly Labrador retriever, to the Barking Hound Village kennel in 2012. The Labrador was prescribed Rimadyl for arthritis, but the Monyaks claim the kennel workers gave the dachshund the drugs instead, causing her to have kidney failure.

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The kennel denies any wrong-doing and also argues that pets are property so they aren’t responsible. In addition, they say the Monyaks rescued Lola so they didn’t pay anything for her, and she wasn’t a show dog so she didn’t generate any revenue, “The purchase price of the dachshund was zero dollars, the rescue dog never generated revenue and nothing occurred during the Monyaks’ ownership of the dog that would have increased her market value.”

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The family disagrees since they paid around $70,000 to try and save the dog’s life through dialysis and other veterinary bills. The family veterinarian determined she had suffered from an overdose of Rimadyl.

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The family sued the kennel for negligence, fraud and deceit after they claimed the kennel tried to cover up their mistake. They are seeking $67,000 for medical bills and emotion-based damages. Courts across the country have determined when families lose pets from negligence and other such related issues that they are entitled to receiving reimbursement for medical costs but determining an emotional value hasn’t been made.

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Stephen Wells, the executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, released this statement: “Everyone knows dogs are family and more than mere property. Courts across the nation are recognizing that beloved family members like Lola have intrinsic value — and when they are injured or killed by negligence, that value must be reflected in the damages their families are entitled to by law.”


Photo courtesy of the Animal Legal Defense Fund


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