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I'm watching this through the appeal process. It will be very interesting how the Texas Supreme Court rules because it will affect Texas law in so many ways. The State Bar has an animal law section and it's growing. There are actually some animal law practitioners here in Dallas, a couple of whom are advising rescue groups on various issues.
 

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I worry about what this will do to malpractice insurance rates for vets. If precident is set, I imagine vet prices overall will rise to cover the cost of insurance.
 

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If pets become more than property eventually we will not be able to euthanize them just like people. We will no longer be able to give them the greatest gift of love the dignity of death without untold suffering. :(

If your neighbor decides they don't like you feeding raw if they can bend the ear of the court/advocate for the dog they may get the courts to enforce what you can feed your dog, where in the home the dog can sleep. They may even be able to force that dogs cannot be left alone for more than an hour or so in the home.

The more we are willing to give up our rights and freedoms (dogs as property) the more government intrusion we will see. Sure it will affect those that are not good at caring for the pets but it will affect everyone that is good at caring for them also making it harder to care for and so much more expensive it will make even crimminals out of good people.
 

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I worry about what this will do to malpractice insurance rates for vets. If precident is set, I imagine vet prices overall will rise to cover the cost of insurance.
Exactly. That was the first ramification I thought about. In addition, there will be consents to sign before procedures, just like in the human medicine realm. It will affect so many things. Texas law already limits malpractice awards for medical malpractice but veterinarians are not covered by those limits and restrictions.
 

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Gracie's mom and dad
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I welcome this decision and I hope the appeals lobby will be over ruled. Vets who foul up need to be as accountable to the parents of animals they harm. As it is, Vets have no peer review process, as do human physicians. Nobody seems to be overly concerned about the rising cost of MD's malparactice rates, so why do vets have to be different?

The loss of an animal is as, if not more devastating than the loss of a human family member. Perhaps this new law will weed out bad vets and believe me there are plenty of them around.
 

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I am not sure what side I'm on for this one. On the one hand if someone wrongfully injures or kills a pet, they should be accountable, on the other hand it could the start of a slippery slope, and would definitley affect vet costs.
 

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I am not sure what side I'm on for this one. On the one hand if someone wrongfully injures or kills a pet, they should be accountable, on the other hand it could the start of a slippery slope, and would definitley affect vet costs.
This is exactly how I feel.

I do think it's a bit over the top to say that this will definitely keep us from being able to euthanize our pets, or leave them alone for a set amount of time in the future. That's the kind of exaggeration that the AKC and others use to try to convince people that all pet welfare laws are in place so that PETA can keep us from owning pets in the future.

It is a slippery slope, but if approached correctly, will do wonderful things for the future of animal welfare.
 

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I welcome this decision and I hope the appeals lobby will be over ruled. Vets who foul up need to be as accountable to the parents of animals they harm. As it is, Vets have no peer review process, as do human physicians. Nobody seems to be overly concerned about the rising cost of MD's malparactice rates, so why do vets have to be different?

The loss of an animal is as, if not more devastating than the loss of a human family member. Perhaps this new law will weed out bad vets and believe me there are plenty of them around.
I respectfully disagree on a couple of points you make. Vets do have a peer review process if you take into account disciplinary boards. Here is my state's online record of disciplinary records: Texas Veterinary Records ~ Disciplinary Documents

Also, my state enacted legislation limiting lawsuit liability in medical malpractice cases several years ago specifically because of the rising costs of medical malpractice insurance. Physicians (especially OB/GYNs) were leaving the state to practice elsewhere because of the rising malpractice insurance premiums.

There are already measures in place in my state to weed out bad veterinarians (see link above).

I see this precedent, if upheld, as affecting rescue organizations. There will need to be new procedures in place with intakes of dogs found by good Samaritans, to verify the dog was in fact lost and not simply taken by someone and turned in (such as in a nuisance situation between neighbors). Intakes of owner surrender dogs will also be affected because the rescue will need proof of ownership before taking the dog in (otherwise they open themselves up for a lawsuit if they take in a dog not actually "owned" by the person releasing it). All adoption contracts would need to be reviewed and possibly revised to beef up disclaimers and limit liability. It could affect our homeowners and umbrella personal liability insurance premiums because if someone's animal is injured or killed on our property they can sue for emotional distress caused by whatever happened on the property.

It shall be interesting if the decision is actually upheld by the Texas Supreme Court.
 

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Grumpy Old Man
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"Court Ruling: Dogs not just property"

Well, that's kinda misleading. The court found that dogs are property, but they are a more complicated type of property.

It is akin to comparing a rusted out old 1980 ford F150 and a restored antique 1929 Ford Model A Pickup. Yes, they are both old trucks, but there is a world of difference in their value. One is worth its' weight as scrap metal, the other is a rare unique item desired by fanciers and carries high intrinsic and sentimental value.

Dealing with dogs in the courts has become more complicated.
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Im concerned that I might not have the choice of 'care and comfort' - that if there is a 5, 10 or 20,000 dollar procedure that can maybe extend life...that I will be forced to choose that option even if it means losing my home or emptying the kids college fund.
Pet ownership could be only for the very wealthy...
 

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I admit to being baffled by some responses. As I read the ruling, it does not being to approach treating dogs like humans in terms of rights. Rather it recognizes that they should have the same status as other types of property that have value beyond what the market would return, honoring our emotional relationship with them.

Might this raise insurance rates for veterinarians who are guilty of malpractice? Probably, but is that bad? Does it give us more recourse if someone kills an animal out of malice or negligence? I think so, and that's good.
 

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Gracie's mom and dad
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respectfully disagree on a couple of points you make. Vets do have a peer review process
Your point is well taken.

Unlike human hospitals, where there is continuous scrutiny by quality assurance commitees and review of performance by insurance providers, vets dont have to answer to queries by these watchdogs.
If things go wrong in the vets office operating rooms, the surgeon does not have to face a peer review or morbidity and mortality review body. He or she does not face the possibility of removal of privileges.

Yes, I agree there are state boards who, just like MD licensing boards who can pull the plug on a bad vet.
 

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Might this raise insurance rates for veterinarians who are guilty of malpractice? Probably, but is that bad?
The problem is the insurance rates will go up for all veterinarians, good and bad. They in turn will simply increase prices to cover these increases and this will cause some people to delay or not get needed care for their pets because they cannot afford to pay the increased prices. In addition, veterinarians will need to offer and recommend more complex testing in order to avoid a malpractice claim, which also tends to increase pricing. These changes will require more paperwork--consents, releases, etc. That increases administrative costs (and legal costs in getting the documents reviewed in advance), and that will also result in higher veterinary prices.
 

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They in turn will simply increase prices to cover these increases and this will cause some people to delay or not get needed care for their pets because they cannot afford to pay the increased prices.

That seems to happening anyway. We've been shocked at how quickly veterinary care costs are rising. Veterinary medicine used to be full of people who loved animals and kept costs reasonable. Now it seems too many are in love with the almighty dollar more.
 

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My two cents is that the law should reflect the reality of our pets' position in society. They are a special category of property. But I don't see using this change as a way to punish bad vets. Perhaps the law could changed, or the pets' status could be changed, AND we could avoid lawsuits. One way is for vets to have a contract with pet owners that stipulates arbitration not lawsuits to settle disputes. We are a highly litigious society. It'd be nice to be able to protect animals without putting vets' practices at huge risk.

On the other hand, I find it suspect that the "anti" groups are coming out with claims that costs will be driven so high that people won't be able to afford care for their pets, they'll be abandoned, etc. Somehow I don't think the "anti" people are really concerned about that . . . they just don't like the implications of this change to themselves.
 

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First, if the Supreme court of Texas upholds the appellate court , it will be effective in the State of Texas only, and other states will need to enact legislation or courts will need to adopt the Texas precedent. Here is the appellate court decision, for those of you who are interested: http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/11/15/FtWorthOpinion.pdf
I've been unsuccessful in determining if an appeal has actually been filed with the Texas Supreme Court. The decision was rendered on November 15, 2011. It would not surprise me for a settlement to be reached in lieu of appeal.
 
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