In the eyes of the law in Wisconsin, a dog has no emotional value.
An Onalaska couple has lost a bid for a larger award for the injuries to their dog, after arguing that the same law that inflates the market value of photographs and heirlooms should apply to family pets too.
Thomas and Cary Smith’s 11-year-old West Highland terrier “Ella,” was mauled by a neighbor’s German Shepherd, forcing the Smith’s to pay $9,000 in medical bills.
But a judge ruled the neighbors were liable only for the market value of the dog, or about $3,000.
The La Crosse Tribune says their lawyer argued a dog has the sentimental and emotional value that applies to damage cases involving family heirlooms and keepsakes.
That argument was rejected this week by a state court of appeals.
“It seems to us that there are obvious and significant differences between an unrepairable and lost-forever keepsake and an injured but ‘repairable’ pet. For that matter, here, the Smiths are not seeking to measure their damages by looking to the factors listed in (prior case law). They are primarily seeking ‘repair costs,’” the court said.
Ella isn’t quite the same since the attack. Her two hind legs are partially paralyzed.
In Wisconsin, the damage claims are limited to the “cost of repairs” or the dog’s market value before the attack, whichever is less.