Animal Legal Defense Fund Argues for Dog’s “Intrinsic Value” in Dachshund DeathPosted on September 15, 2014
Animal Protection Group Files Brief in Lawsuit Against Negligent Kennel
For immediate release:
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
Megan Backus, ALDF
ATLANTA — 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.