If a decision by the Fort Worth Court of Appeals is allowed to stand, Texas will become one of the few jurisdictions in the nation that recognizes a cause of action for the wrongful death of a pet. In Strickland v. Medlen (No. 12-0047). TCJL’s amicus brief argues that the Court of Appeals’ decision to allow damages based on the sentimental value of a pet disregards well-settled Texas law, places Texas jurisprudence far outside the national mainstream, and makes a radical policy change that should be left to the Texas Legislature.
Texas law and that of the vast majority of states do not permit sentimental damages for the death of a pet. If broad and potentially unlimited liability was imposed on pet owners, veterinary care professionals, animal shelters, local governments, motor vehicle owners and operators, and myriad other parties that may come into contact with a pet, the increased risk will be passed on in the form of substantially higher insurance premiums, medical and veterinary costs, and local taxes and fees. TCJL further argues that a very significant policy change of this nature should be made by the Legislature after careful review of the implications of expanding liability in this area. TCJL joined amici American Kennel Club, Cat Fanciers’ Association, Animal Health Institute, American Veterinary Medicine Association, National Animal Interest Alliance, American Pet Products Association, Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, Texas Municipal League, and Texas Veterinary Medical Association in urging the Supreme Court to accept review and reverse the Court of Appeals’ decision.