RPOA joins AKC, TVMA, CFA, etc. opposing “sentimental value” for dogs

Remember RPOA?  They’re b-a-a-a-a-c-c-k-k.  Responsible Pet Owners Alliance, and it’s legislative arm, RPOA Texas Outreach, led the breeders who opposed the package of ordinances passed by the Dallas City Council in 2008.  They, and their friends in the AKC, NRA and TRA, fought long and hard against ordinances that banned chaining dogs, prohibited auctioning off pets as prizes, and required permits for intact animals and breeders. 

Now they’re joining up again, this time with the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, to fight a recent Texas appeals court ruling that allows for a family whose dog was mistakenly euthanized to recover, not just the dog’s market value, but its sentimental value as well. They would prefer Texas courts rely instead on an antiquated (1891!) court ruling that doesn’t allow for any damages other than the animal’s actual market value, or what it “earns” for is owner.  At the time that 1891 ruling was decided, Texas law didn’t allow recovery for the “sentimental value” of any personal property. But even RPOA admitted, in an email earlier today to its members, “More recent cases have held that where personal property [things like photographs, family heirlooms, wedding memorabilia, etc.] has little or no market value, and its main value is in sentiment, damages may be awarded based on intrinsic or sentimental value.”  But they don’t want that to apply to dogs?

The email goes on to say that, “Justice Lee Gabriel wrote in the opinion that, “Dogs are unconditionally devoted to their owners. Today, we interpret timeworn court law in light of subsequent Supreme Court law to acknowledge that the special value of man’s best friend should be protected.”  Sounds positive, right?

But then RPOA concludes that the law is “irresponsible”, “will lead to uncertainty for anyone who
cares for animals” and “may require veterinarians to practice medicine in a more defensive manner.” Wonder what the defensive veterinary care is?  Responsible?  Accountable?  I’m pretty sure my vets already practice “defensive medicine”, or I wouldn’t be taking my pets to them. 

RPOA has always been quick to point out the use of what they call “scare tactics” by animal welfare advocates. But that doesn’t stop them from warning in their email that the ruling could bring about “changes with vast unintended consequences”, and further, that the ruling “will do nothing but complicate care, tie up our courts and cause more distress and expense ultimately placing veterinary care out of reach for a large number of animal owners”.  Lots of businesses make money off pet care, and they do it responsibly.  Why would they object to a ruling that upholds what they already know – pets are worth more to their owners than just a $75 adoption fee?

Did I mention RPOA opposed the “Puppy Mill Bill’”, too?  You can see a list of all the bills they opposed on their website

It pays to know your opponents, no matter what name they go by.

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Copyright Rebecca Poling 2011.  All rights reserved.  Email DFWAnimalRescue@att.net if you have a story you’d like to share.

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