Animal Legal Defense Fund Argues for Dog’s “Intrinsic Value” in Dachshund Death

Posted on September 15, 2014

Animal Protection Group Files Brief in Lawsuit Against Negligent Kennel

For immediate release:

Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
Megan Backus, ALDF

lola-article-image-230pxATLANTA — The national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a “friend of the court” brief in the Georgia Court of Appeals last week, in support of a family suing Barking Hound Village for gross negligence that led to the death of the family’s dog, Lola. The lawsuit itself was filed last year by Robert and Elizabeth Monyak and seeks $68,000 in veterinary and other expenses that include the cost of dialysis treatments undertaken to save Lola’s life. Barking Hound Village asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming the dog’s life was worth only “market value” or purchase price, which, as a mixed breed, amounted to nothing. Judge Eric Richardson, of the State Court of Fulton County, denied this motion, holding that Lola’s intrinsic value was a more appropriate remedy and that the Monyaks were entitled to compensation for veterinarian fees and other non-economic elements. The boarding facility has appealed. ALDF’s brief urges the Court of Appeals to affirm the trial court, arguing that companion animals like Lola are intrinsically valued family members and emotionally and financially worth more than their market value.

In May 2012, the Monyaks left their dogs Lola (an eight year-old dachshund mix) and Callie (a much larger ten year-old lab mix) at the boarding facility while on vacation. According to the Monyak lawsuit, the staff mistakenly gave Callie’s daily dose of Rimadyl—an anti-inflammatory drug for arthritis—to Lola during their twelve-day stay. These repeated overdoses caused Lola acute kidney failure, which required extensive veterinary treatment. Lola died in March 2013 from these injuries.

Evidence suggests Barking Hound Village realized their mistake and attempted to cover it up. After giving the wrong medicine to the dog and failing to alert the Monyaks to the facility’s mistake, Barking Hound Village then failed to properly document the medicine log, lost the log, and apparently erased surveillance videotapes.

“Everyone knows dogs are family and more than mere property,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Increasingly, 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.”

Copies of the brief are available by request.

24 thoughts on “Animal Legal Defense Fund Argues for Dog’s “Intrinsic Value” in Dachshund Death

  1. Jessica Piper says:

    There needs to be a change in the way companion animals are “valued” in the legal system. There are few viable options for civil claims, and those that remain far undervalue companion animals because of their categorization under the law as property. Can you please email me a copy of the brief?

    1. don hughes says:

      I concur! It seems to hinge on who is sitting on the bench. Texas is ranked 25th in the nation regarding animal welfare, but most of the general public still view animals, especially farm animals as meer property. Call it cultural or otherwise, it is simply a lack of moral sentiment.

  2. LindaH says:

    Shame on the kennel! They should lose their license and be put out of business…at the very least!

  3. Donna says:

    I agree ..animals are part of the family.

  4. kathy says:

    This is a family dog, it was neglect that killed the family should get more than that pain and suffering mental anguish , they have loss a pet that would have been with them for more years to come ,it was their baby. R.I.P. sweet one.

  5. Susan says:

    This kennel should be shut down for this. A family lost their pet because of them. My heart breaks for Lola & the family she belonged to. God bless them. R.I.P. little sweetheart.

  6. Sandy Spiwak-Wallin says:

    This is a complete disgrace and unfortunately happening more often not only in boarding facilities but at groomer salons and even veterinarians offices. Improper staff training and lack of communication are mainly the problem.I will pray that you win this case to send a message out there that family pets are family members. End of story.Justice needs to be done.

  7. Mary C says:

    Great job. Thanks so much for writing that amicus brief.

  8. Klara Larsen says:

    I cant even begin to think about the grief they must feel. You entrust your “BABY” to someone. Pay a lot of money for having them give the meds and then they cant even do that. Disgusting.

  9. Pam Thompson says:

    any boarding kennels which cannot see that a dog means more to it’s family than it would cost to replace it, should not be working with animals.I once spent £2000 on a mongrel dog worth, at most, £50 when he was badly hurt. And if someone offered me £50,000 for my Archie who’s ‘value’ to replace, would be around £800 I’d refuse. My dogs are family members and you’d not expect to put a price on your granny or daughter.The kennels has in effect crippled this little dog and blighted the life of his owners, causing grief and emotional pain and the owners deserve to be compensated.

  10. Scott Slocum says:

    Thanks for spreading the word and submitting the “friend of the court” brief.

    We need to establish the true and fair value of companion and working animals in the law.

  11. Cynthia Lott says:

    Oh my God. My dog died there a few years back while I was in London. They acted odd at the time and then made me pay for her whole stay even though she died of “heart failure”while she was there.

  12. Stefani olsen says:

    I will be super happy when you submit briefs like this to help prosecute cases of veterinary negligence where the veterinarians do EXACTLY the same thing that was done here — negligently overdose and cause the death of a beloved animal In their care.

  13. Lori Hessinger Benefiel says:

    So sorry for you loss,HOPE you get your lawsuit,get paid ,and have this facility closed down ,won’t bring her back ,but may save many life’s,again very sorry rip peace baby

  14. Christine Williams says:

    The boarding facility should pay the costs associated with the consequences of their actions. The problem with punitive damages is twofold – (1) Costs for these things will be passed on to the consumer, period. People already complain that medical and pet care expenses are too high in spite of the expectation of human-level-care at lower than human-level care prices. Add risk of pricey lawsuits and watch the prices rise further which means less care for pets in lower income households. (2) What does the “winner” in one of these cases get? An amount of money which was not earned in any way – frivolousness at its best and possibly iffy ulterior motives. Maybe if the punitive damages were awarded to an animal charity where the $$ could actually benefit animals instead of people, it would seem more logical and fair.

  15. Brenda Lombardi says:

    I pray this facility is now shut down and won’t have the opportunity to devastate another family by losing a member of their family! These precious little creatures aren’t just an animal. They ARE family! The people working in that facility should be ashamed of themselves!

  16. Suzi Pettit says:

    Until our society starts protecting the non humans against torture, neglect and abuse, this is what we’ll see for the rest of our lives. VOTE TO BE THEIR VOICES

  17. Jason Cardoza says:

    I hope they pay dearly and it causes them to shut down and be out on the streets. I can’t stand people like this.Thank goodness for the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

  18. Sheri parry says:

    This boarding facility should have charges brought against them, be liable for every penny and then shut down.

  19. Jill says:

    A similar thing happened to my dog. She was attacked and killed at a boarders because they left her alone with larger dogs unsupervised for who knows how long and when I called they told me she was taking a nap but I observed her lying dead in the playroom via webcam. They lied over and over again and my 3.5lb dog never got any assistance but lay in the floor bleeding to death. The police dept, humane society and animal control wouldn’t even take a report. The news did an article about it and I heard from another pet owner that her dog was killed there in March 2014, her little dog was found hanging on a door handle outside. This has got to stop and regulations put in place and these places should be charged criminally.

  20. Susan says:

    This was such a deadly careless mistake. I do hope and pray for the Monyak family, as they have lost a dear family member, to be compensated to the fullest. Veterinary costs, or medical fees and for emotional distress. This kennel must be accountable for their wrong doing, that allowed their 10 year old Calliedog to suffer without his medication, but took the life of eight year old Lola. May the Angels place kisses on Lola’s nose and take care of her over the Rainbow Bridge.

  21. don hughes says:

    Sounds like Barking Hound Village needs to go away for good. Good riddens!

  22. Gail Cauldwell says:

    Hi, I am so sorry for your loss. Being in healthcare 20 years, I just want to state that Vet drugs are just as dangerous as many drugs that are killing people daily due to the fraud of negligence of the Pharmaceutical industry. Altho the drug was given inappropriately to a well dog, the drug is clearly unsafe. I would consider natural supplements for your dogs arthritis- gluctosamine, chodroitin, gluten-free all natural dogfoods because gluten and wheat are shown to create arthritis. Its a very complicated case, but I would avoid that drug if possible.

  23. Diana G says:

    The saddest part of all of this is that there is little that can be done as long as animals are viewed under the law as ‘property’ and therefore do not carry the same ‘value of loss’ as that of a human loved one. Until the law evolves and recognizes that more and more people are considering/treating pets as ‘family’ your options are limited to civil proceedings and the value of the pet. Most states won’t even prosecute animal cruelty cases – citing limited budgets and high case loads, which is true – but where do you think the serial killers and abusers learn their trades – but on the helpless, SILENT victims available to them – our beloved, furry family members.

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