Georgia Supreme Court Says No to Sentimental Value But Yes to Dog’s Qualities

Robert and Elizabeth Monyak filed a complaint for damages after their dog (a mixed-breed Dachshund) suffered acute renal failure following a ten-day stay in a kennel owned and operated by Appellant Barking Hound Village, LLC and managed by William Furman who denied damages and argued that because the Monyaks had not demonstrated that the dog had any market value, their claims were barred as a matter of law.

The Supreme Court of Georgia held that “the proper measure of damages recoverable by the Monyaks for the negligent injury and death of their dog includes both the dog’s fair market value plus interest and any reasonable medical costs and other expenses they incurred in treating the animal for its injuries.” Although the Monyaks may not recover damages based on the sentimental value of the dog, they may introduce both qualitative and quantitative evidence of the dog’s particular attributes to describe its value.”The key is ensuring that such evidence relates to the value of the dog in a fair market, not the value of the dog solely to its owner.”

In addition to recovering the fair market value of their deceased dog plus interest, the Monyaks can “recover the reasonable veterinary and other expenses they reasonably incurred in trying to save her.” The Monyaks have the burden of establishing the reasonableness of any medical treatment, as well as the reasonableness of the cost of that treatment, in light of all attending circumstances.
Source: Barking Hound Vill. LLC v. Monyak, A14A1960; Georgia Court of Appeals, Civil Case (11/28/2016, 1/17/2017)

Tip: Preserve your dog’s special, peculiar and particular qualities, actions and habits as evidence of value.

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