Charlotte, NC asked in Animal / Dog Law for South Carolina

Q: Can I sue for emotional distress caused by an animal rescue adopting a dog out from under me?

We were strung along for days after being approved for adoption. 45min before we were supposed to get the dog I was as informed via text that he went to a foster and they’d have to see when they’d be available. Fast forward to the next day, I’ve still heard no word. So I reach out only to be told those people had decided to adopt him. My three children are devastated, we bought items for the new family member.

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: Like in most jurisdictions, South Carolina law considers dogs to be items of personal property like a TV set or a lamp. The value of a dog for purposes of legal damages is the fair market value of the dog at the time of the loss. As in most jurisdictions, SC law does not allow any recovery for emotional distress caused by the loss of personal property. Much as some like to consider their pets "family members," the law in most places does not.

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