No compensation for shock over dead pet: German court

BERLIN - A German federal court has ruled that owners whose pets are killed are not legally entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, it announced Tuesday.

The Federal Court of Justice based in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe rejected the complaint of a woman whose female Labrador Retriever was run over by a tractor while out on a walk in a field in October 2008.

In addition to compensation for the cost of a new dog, along with lawyer and medical fees, the plaintiff had sued because the dog's death had led to "a severe adjustment disorder and depressive episode" over several months.

The judges rejected the claim, saying current legislation only covered compensation for suffering incurred with the death of a human companion or relative.

It also ordered the woman to pay half the medical and legal costs as the 14-month-old dog had not been on a leash.

"The tightly-restricted guidelines on recovery of damages due to shock stipulate that they do not apply in cases entailing impairment of psychological health when animals are hurt or killed," the tribunal said in a ruling dated March 20 but published Tuesday, upholding the decision of a lower court.

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