McDougall v. Lamm, 211 N.J. 203 (N.J. Sup. Ct. 2012)

(plaintiff brought suit for compensatory and emotional distress damages after a neighbor’s dog grabbed and shook her Maltese Poodle causing its death while she watched; trial court awarded actual and intrinsic damages for the value of the “trained” dog, but dismissed her bystander claim because state law does not recognize a claim based on a relationship with a companion animal; appellate court held that it was sympathetic to the human/animal relationship, but held that the element requiring familial relationship for recovery of mental distress damages was sound and expanding scope of plaintiffs would not further public policy as statutes addressing dangerous dogs and other conduct are already applicable; also further expanding potential for bystander liability for personal property would open the door to claims for attachments to other inanimate forms of property, such as heirlooms and gifts; judgment affirmed).