Center for Wildlife Ethics has petitioned Indiana’s highest court to hear an appeal in Liddle v. Clark, a case involving the death of a park patron’s dog in a body-gripping trap at Versailles State Park. The trial court found the Indiana Department of Natural Resources negligent for failing to warn the public about the hidden, deadly devices. However, the court failed to acknowledge that the property negligently destroyed in this case was unique and irreplaceable – a beloved, senior, family dog – the value of which cannot be measured by some fictitious “market”.
The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court’s unprincipled distinction between living/animate and inanimate property. And while the law allows plaintiffs to recover sentimental damages for nonliving property that has no “market” value (e.g., family heirlooms, etc.), the courts failed to extend that same valuation to companion animals.
The absurd result of this ruling is that an irreplaceable photo of our plaintiff’s dog, Copper, could be valued higher than the actual dog herself in the State of Indiana.
CWE petitions the Indiana Supreme Court to reconcile this untenable legal position and recognize that the actual value of a companion animal is often sentimental in nature and stems entirely from the shared bond between the guardian and his or her beloved dog.
You can learn more about the appeal in our latest video: