Fight for Animals’ Intrinsic Value In Wrongful Death of Dog
Barking Hound Village v Monyak
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an amicus brief in support of a family suing a Georgia kennel for gross negligence that allegedly led to the death of the family’s dog.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an amicus brief to support a family suing a boarding facility for gross negligence that allegedly led to the death of the family’s dog, Lola.
When the case made it to the Supreme Court of Georgia, we urged the court to affirm an earlier Court of Appeals decision permitting damages that exceed market value, but also to include non-economic elements. The brief argued that companion animals, like Lola, are family members whose value to their guardians far exceeds their negligible market value.
In 2016, the Supreme Court of Georgia partly affirmed and partly reversed the appellate court’s decision — holding that in a lawsuit involving the death or injury of a pet, the correct measure of damages is the animal’s fair market value plus reasonable medical costs, but not non-economic elements like the animal’s intrinsic value to his or her family.
Significantly, the court held that a plaintiff can recover reasonable veterinary costs, even when they exceed an animal’s market value, which recognizes animals as a unique form of property under the law.
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