Texas Court Says Bereaved Dog Owners Can’t Sue

By PAUL J. WEBER | April 8, 2013

Man’s best friend is priceless. But a dog gone is worth nothing in Texas.

dogThe Texas Supreme Court upheld Friday that bereaved dog owners can’t sue for emotional damages when someone else is to blame for the death of a pet. A Fort Worth family had challenged the law after an animal shelter mistakenly euthanized their Labrador retriever in 2009.

Justice Don Willet wrote the 25-page opinion with flourish rarely seen from the state’s highest civil court. He opened with a dog-admiring passage from the English poet Lord Byron and opined the heartache wrought by “Old Yeller.”

Yet Willet concluded that “the human-animal bond, while undeniable” is not worth compensation.

Texas does allow owners to collect damages for pets with economic value, such as a pedigree show dog.

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