Barking Hound Village, LLC v. MonyakAnnotate this Case
The damages at issue in this case arose from the death of a mixed-breed dachshund owned by Robert and Elizabeth Monyak. In 2012, the Monyaks boarded Lola, their 8 ½ -year old dachshund mix, for ten days at a kennel owned by Barking Hound Village, LLC (“BHV”) and managed by William Furman. Three days after picking up their dogs from BHV, Lola was diagnosed with acute renal failure. Despite receiving extensive veterinary care over a nine-month period, including kidney dialysis treatment, Lola died in March 2013. The Monyaks asserted various claims of negligence against BHV and Furman, and sought compensatory damages, including over $67,000 in veterinary and other expenses incurred in treating Lola. In addition, alleging fraud and deceit on the part of the defendants, the Monyaks sought litigation expenses and punitive damages. Observing that pet dogs were considered personal property under Georgia law, but finding that not all dogs have an actual commercial or market value, the Court of Appeals held that where the actual market value of the animal was non-existent or nominal, the appropriate measure of damages would be the actual value of the dog to its owners. The Georgia Supreme Court granted certiorari to consider whether the Court of Appeals erred in holding that the proper measure of damages for the loss of a pet dog was the actual value of the dog to its owners rather than the dog’s fair market value. Because the Supreme Court found that long-standing Georgia precedent provided that the damages recoverable by the owners of an animal negligently killed by another included both the animal’s fair market value at the time of the loss plus interest, and, in addition, any medical and other expenses reasonably incurred in treating the animal, the Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the Court of Appeals’ decision.