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Texas Supreme Court to Rule on Sentimental Value of Dogs

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A Texas family devastated by the tragic accidental euthanization of their beloved dog by Fort Worth Animal Control are asking the Texas Supreme Court, in a groundbreaking case, to rule on the sentimental value of companion animals and if they can sue for the emotional damages caused by their dog’s death.

Jeremy and Kathryn Medlen with their dog Avery. Avery was accidentally euthanized by Fort Worth Animal Control in 2009. Photo courtesy The Medlen Family.

Three years ago, the Medlen’s family dog, Avery, escaped their backyard during a thunderstorm. Just days later, they learned that Avery had been picked up by Fort Worth Animal Control and was being held for the family. When the family arrived at the shelter to retrieve him, they were told that Avery had been accidentally euthanized a day earlier.

Avery’s cage had been labeled with a sign reading, “hold for owner,” but an officer in charge of selecting dogs for euthanization had chosen him anyway.

Local attorney, Randy Turner, took the case free of charge and helped the Medlens bring suit against shelter worker, Carla Strickland, for the negligence and accidental killing of their dog. The original case was dismissed, but an appeals court ruled in the Medlen’s favor, bringing the case to the Texas Supreme Court.

You see, the value of a dog’s life sits square in the middle of a gray area of the law. As Texas laws stand now, dogs are viewed as property, holding a value equal to the cost of replacing them. For example, the “value” of a purebred dog is the same as purchasing a new puppy of the same breed from a breeder, roughly in the range of $500-$2000. For a mutt, the value would be the cost to adopt another mutt.

However, in 1963, Texas adopted a “sentimental value rule” that states if property is wrongfully destroyed and that property had little or no market value, then the parties involved could sue.

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  1. Hello! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

  2. Avatar Of Elaine



    Dogs are more than property to some, but not to others. I hope the Supreme Court takes into consideration the puppy mill breeders who consider their dogs to be property and the puppies “products”. I would hate to put any power in their hands to stop the raids and rescues. My dogs are family to me and if they ever got in a situation where some one else killed them, I would pursue that person to the ends of my day. I’d sure be asking some hard questions of that Carla Strickland. Could she not read ? Why would she euthanize a dog that had a sihn “hold for family”.

    • Avatar Of Bridget Anderson

      Bridget Anderson


      I agree Elaine.My fur babies are family,but we don’t need puppy mill breeders benefiting from this.Shame on Carla ! Who knows how many times this has happened

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