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Euthanized dog puts emotional value to Texas court

Does a dog have sentimental value? That's what the Texas Supreme Court is trying to decide.

"They become like a part of your family," said Lisa Wagner, while she played with her dog Hannah at Auditorium Shores. Many of us would agree but not Texas law. It's that issue the Texas Supreme court heard Thursday.

At the center of this case is Avery, a yellow-lab mix that was wrongly euthanized at a Fort Worth shelter back in 2009.

"To us he was a member of our family and so we felt the law was just not fit to deal with a situation like this," said Kathryn Medlen in 2011.

Avery's owners are seeking sentimental value damages for their property, a lower court threw out the case but the Fort Worth Court of Appeals agreed with them leading them to highest court in the state.

"It makes no sense that you can get sentimental value for all the other property in your house that has no market value, but sentimental value and you can't get it for your dog," said Randy Turner, the Medlen's attorney.

He says the sentimental value rule in Texas law allows property that doesn't have market value to be valued on emotions, but it exempts animals.

John Cayce, represents the shelter employee who mistakenly put Avery on the euthanasia list.

He says the value of a pet can extend to market value, maybe vet bills, maybe training, and that's about it.

"We're simply here asking the court to uphold its prior ruling and drawing the line," said Cayce.

A change in the law, some say could mean more liability and economic hardships for the animal service industry. Turner says all his clients want is for pets to be valued not just by all of us but under the Texas law.

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