This month, Center for Wildlife argued an appeal in its state park dog trapping case, Liddle v. Clark, before the Indiana Court of Appeals. The oral argument was well-attended, an indication that the legal issues of damages for the loss of a companion animal and public interest standing [challenging IDNR’s reckless policies] are matters of particular public importance.
CWE was pleased to learn that The Indiana Lawyer published an article about the appeal describing the critical issues raised in this case and the exchanges that occurred between the attorneys and judges in the courtroom. CWE is grateful for this coverage, but we feel compelled to note a few important clarifications.
CWE has consistently argued:
- Fair Market Value (“FMV”) analysis cannot apply in this case.
- FMV analysis is “[un]fair” because it fails to make Ms. Liddle whole – i.e., it fails to satisfy the primary legal and policy directive guiding tort law.
- No “market” exists for Copper – an elderly, mixed-breed, sterilized, family companion animal.
- Copper’s “value” to Melodie is based entirely on their loving companionship and shared experiences. The lower court’s FMV damage award ignores this reality.
- IDNR, as a steward of public lands, lacks the statutory authority to authorize commercial fur trappers to maintain traps and privately profit off the sale of the skins of animals captured on our public lands. This fact cannot be changed by a rule adoption.
CWE will continue to provide updates on the progress of this important litigation. The full oral argument in this appeal can be viewed here.