Georgia’s Supreme Court Will Soon Decide the Value of This Dog

An 8-year-old dachshund mix named Lola was allegedly given the wrong medicine by an Atlanta kennel in 2012. After suffering kidney failure, Lola died nine months later.

Lola’s owners, Bob and Elizabeth Monyak, say Barking Hound Village gave Lola their other dog’s arthritis medication for 12 days, and then attempted to cover up the mistake by destroying its medicine log and erasing surveillance videotapes. The couple is suing the kennel for negligence, fraud and deceit. They want to recover the $67,000 in veterinary bills they spent trying to save Lola’s life.

But Barking Hound Village, which denies any responsibility for Lola’s death, is fighting the lawsuit. Pets are property, it says. And since the Monyaks had adopted Lola from an animal shelter free of charge, Barking Hound Village says the dog was worth nothing. Zip. Zilch.

The case has made its way to the Georgia Supreme Court, which will decide the value of a dog – specifically, how damages should legally be measured for the injury or death of a pet.

“This dog was a rescue dog. There was no purchase price. Lola, while very much beloved by the Monyaks, didn’t have any specialized, [monetary] value,” Barking Hound Village’s attorney, Joel McKie, argued before the Georgia Supreme Court Jan. 19, WMAZ reports.

McKie said the recovery of damages should be decided by the market value of a pet rather than the sentimental value.

“Their position is that a dog is like a toaster,” Elizabeth Monyak told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “When you break it, you throw it away and get a new one. A dog is indeed property under the law, but it’s a different kind of property.”

It’s rather disheartening that Barking Hound Village’s argument is supported by some major animal organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Kennel Club and Cat Fanciers Association.

In a friend-of-the-court brief submitted by these organizations to the Georgia Supreme Court, they said that if a pet’s sentimental value can be considered by a jury, the cost for veterinary care and boarding will rise. Services like free spaying and neutering could end. Because of the increased liability, shelters and rescues might be forced to turn away homeless pets.

The Monyaks are supported by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), which submitted its own friend-of-the-court brief stating that the intrinsic value of pets to their owners far exceeds their market value.

“Barking Hound Village obviously recognizes the value its clients place on their dogs,” Stephen Wells, executive director of the ALDF, said regarding the case. “Its website states that ‘your dog is part of our family.’ The company can’t have it both ways, capitalizing on its clients’ strong emotional attachment to their pets but refusing to pay damages that reflect their intrinsic value.”

The Georgia Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case in four to six months. Hopefully it will decide in favor of the Monyaks, and Georgia will join other states, including California, Illinois, Rhode Island and Tennessee, which already have laws recognizing the intrinsic value of pets.

Photo credit: ALDF

309 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Ivana D.
Ivana D.4 months ago

That's sad

M s
M s4 months ago

SHAME on BARKING HOUND VILLAGE KENNEL in ATLANTA .ANYONE with 1/2 a brain will STAY AWAY from BARKING HOUND VILLAGE KENNEL in ATLANTA .Those idiots are not only IRRESPONSIBLE but won't even own up to their error What COLD CALLOUS humans @ BARKING HOUND VILLAGE KENNEL .I hope they CLOSE DOWN FOREVER and LOSE EVERYTHING Animals are a lot more than some lifeless object. Bob and Elizabeth Monyak should get their $67K + 35K for the ANGUISH of their loss and the suffering of their dog

mari s.
Mari S.4 months ago

Animals are more like members of our family & the law will soon reflect this ---- if not for the mindless negligence of Barking Hound Village, Lola would be alive today -- she is a member of the family -- she is a living being with an emotional life & psychological life -- Lola's human family can affirm & testify to this -- not only is Barking Hound Village careless & negligent, the staff went to much trouble to cover up their huge irresponsible blunder -- Lola suffered & died because of the staff's thoughtlessness --- Lola's human family anguished greatly because of this --Barking Hound Village is at fault -- hence, they must pay for their derelict ways, and they should pay dearly -- I hope the Judge and the Jury share my view.

Monica R.
Monica R.4 months ago

Can't believe that Barking Hound Village argues that a dog is property. And as rescue dog, Lola has no value! The should be put out of business immediately! It's outragous. Every animal is precious.

beba h.
beba h.4 months ago

It sounds like the same argument used when slavery was legal. You could do whatever you wanted to slaves because they were slaves. It was wrong then and it is wrong now.

Susan Robinson
Susan Robinson4 months ago

The market-value argument is only valid for items that can be replaced. Unfortunately, due to the criminal actions of Barking Hound Village, Lola cannot be.

Vi M.
Vi M.4 months ago

Barking Hound Village should be responsible to pay restitution to these people for their high vet bills. Their defence is ridiculous trying to put a 'price tag' on a beloved pet & family member. we don't put Price tags on our kids that we never bought; why should this be any different? Lola was a member of their family and they loved her. His kennel needs to close and those people who work there need to find jobs that have absolutely nothing to do with animals

Andrea Kenyon
Andrea Kenyon4 months ago

I'm stumped. I fail to see how reimbursing the Monyaks the money they paid out in an attempt to save their beloved pet from the damage caused by the kennel's negligence will make the cost of boarding in a reputable kennel rise, or be the end of free spay/neuter clinics. What a sad, silly argument. My condolences to the Monyaks, who must suffer this indignity in addition to their painful loss.

Ana R
ANA MARIJA R.4 months ago

♡Lola was priceless to her family... and yes, the kennel was negligent and is responsible for the pain and suffering of her owners.