Texas Couple can sue over dog's value

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- A Texas appeals court reinstated a couple's lawsuit against an animal shelter that accidentally euthanized their 8-year-old dog, ruling that they can sue to recover the sentimental value of their pet.

Randy Turner, the attorney for plaintiffs Jeremy and Katherine Medlen, said this would be the first time in Texas that someone could sue for a pet's sentimental value.

A lower court judge had dismissed the Medlens' lawsuit over the death of their Labrador mixed breed, Avery, saying they could only sue for the market value of the pet, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Saturday.

But the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth ruled this month that the couple can sue, saying sentimental damages can be recovered for the loss or destruction of all types of personal property, including pets. The lawsuit did not specify the amount of damages it was seeking.

Avery escaped in June 2009 from his family's back yard in Fort Worth and was picked up by the city's animal control. The Medlens found him at the shelter the next day, but through a series of slip-ups and errors, Avery was added to the euthanasia list and put to sleep.

Jason Lamers, a spokesman for Fort Worth, which runs the Chuck Silcox Animal Care and Control Center, said the city disagrees with the ruling.

Published: Tue, Nov 15, 2011