Wilmington couple upset after appeals court rejects dead dog claim

Tags: , , , ,

Submitted: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 3:54am
Updated: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 4:53pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A five-year fight about a dog is over, for now. The North Carolina Court of Appeals has ruled in the wrongful death of a Jack Russell Terrier. The New Hanover County couple behind the lawsuit received word today that the court rejected their claim.

“I’m just so sorry,” Nancy Shera say. “I had just hoped that we would win.”

Nancy and her husband Herbert are still bitter over the death of their dog Laci. In 2007, vets at NC State’s School of Veterinary Medicine killed Laci when they mistakenly inserted a feeding tube into her trachea.

“What they did, over this period of time, they drowned her. Slowly, they drowned her,” Herbert said.

That led the Sheras into a lengthy legal fight over the value of their pet. The Sheras were asking for more than $28,000 arguing that beloved pets are worth more than simply the cost to buy them. The state Court of Appeals disagreed.

“I don’t think they really understood what we were trying to convey,” Nancy said. “Laci has intrinsic value, as far as I’m concerned. Laci… you can’t replace Laci. Laci was Laci. She was unique.”

The Appeals Court says the couple should be reimbursed the cost of the last vet visit that killed Laci plus the cost to replace her.

“I’m not sure how any judiciary outfit can say that something that’s alive lived in your house, slept with you in your bed, was a comfort to you, was a family member… well, oh, that’s just a piece of property,” Herbert said.

For now, the sheras will take some time before they decide whether to take their case farther.

The sheras say it’s never been about the money. In fact, their attorney says had they won, they still would not have broken even because of the legal fees they’ve racked up over the years.


  • Guest9743 says:

    Regardless of what these people are saying, if you believe it….it’s all about the money folks, it’s all about the money!!!

  • JezebelJean says:

    “You can’t replace Laci…” except with money?

    I’ve read that you can get dental work cheaper by having the work done at a school of dentistry, but I’ve never been tempted to try that. Students are students.

  • petey says:

    April 6th…….this is the day the vet school in Raleigh, NC took Laci’s life. The vet school admitted their negligence, it is a documented fact. She has been gone from her family for 6 long years.
    Laci makes a difference to so many pets every day. Very soon we will see a change in the law, in a most positive way for our wonderful pets, ( family members ) and that is as it should be. Not stay stuck in the OLD ways of this state ( sadly and other states ) about our pets being “just property.” We all as pet owners know our pets are valued “family members.” We will keep fighting to change the law, and it will happen.

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    Calm down. Everything is going to work out. It was all about the money, no doubt about it. I am very glad the vet school stepped up and admitted fault. It was a mistake. HEY FOLKS…….this is ALL about the MONEY!!!

  • Guest Petey says:

    MONEY….. BULL….. Oh my how much of a “know it all” are YOU? Do you know the whole story? Did you LIVE it? Do you know that the Vet School admitted they KILLED Laci? Or do you NOT understand what you have heard and read about this horrific situation. Some people in this world value LIFE and LOVED ones ( yes, and their pets ) over MONEY!!!!! It is almost amusing that people ( like you ) spit out comments, and they have NO CLUE about these people, and what they ENDURED because of the negligence of the Vet School. And REMEMBER now, the Vet School admitted their GUILT.
    HEY FOLKS……..this is NOT about MONEY.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Exactly Guestk. Vets do not need to have hugely inflated insurance because of ridiculous lawsuits like this.

    Just a thought but didn’t these people have to sign some type of waiver before they had the dog treated? If so does that mean anything in a court of law or to them in particular. They lost his time hopefully they will rethink any further actions that will affect other pet owners pockets that aren’t as deep.

  • Guest Petey says:

    It is blatantly obvious that you have absolutely no clue about what you are speaking. I have read many, many, comments about this most sad and horrific case. It is astounding that people like you, make such wrong comments. Let me ask you…. did you live what these people did??? Get to the “gut” of it….. if the Vets had been trained properly and done their job correctly, this NEVER, NEVER should have happened. (A TIP FOR YOU ) a kid could have seen that this dog was struggling for its life….. it needed AIR. They slowly drowned this dog. Yes, they caused her death.
    HEY…… about vets.. they need to do their job RIGHT, they get paid BIG BUCKS. I have heard WAY TOO many stories about Vets that have “botched” Way TOO many procedures, and OUR beloved pets have suffered for it. And so has OUR pocketbooks!!!! The Vet School needs to be held accountable.

  • Guest Petey says:

    SCHOOL !!! NC State claims to be the third (3rd) ranked school in the U.S., so I would think they should have known what they were doing. Further, from all that I have read, there was NEVER an offer to “replace the dog or take care of incurred expenses.” You do not have your facts correct.

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    You keep asking people did “They live this” hahaha but you have no clue either. Did you live this? Was Laci your dog also? How do you know it’s not about the money Petey?? Hahah you don’t!!!!! Just because they are the third ranked school in the U.S doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. You don’t have all the facts either cupcake. The dog is DEAD. Time to move forward.

  • Guestk says:

    You haven’t read most everyone else’s comments here and chose me to attack. I have lost pets in my lifetime. I fought the good fight to keep them alive and healthy,but you are right…I was never crazy enough to spend tens of thousands to “try” to keep them alive…because I didn’t have that kind of Money for one, and i wouldn’t have anyway because they are pets and the realization is they may not live as long as I do. So I do think it’s pretty darned extreme to take those chances with no surity that they will make it after all is said and done.

    Also, the cost of Vet’s insurance is going to skyrocket if this thing wins in court, and those of us who find it financially straining to provide our pets with the basic care (but do it because we, too, love them), will not be able to. This couple should have accepted the offer the hospital gave them and moved on with the healing process instead of keeping the wound open for all of us, in the end, to pay the bill.

  • Guest Petey says:

    First of all….. I have more manners than to … HA HA HA people. “KIDS” do that, because they have NO REAL ANSWERS. Which YOU do NOT. AND about the MONEY…. GOOD GRIEF…. did you think their attorney was FREE??? SO, with all that I have read about this most sad story…. it is about doing the right thing for Laci and ALL pets in the future. Also, these vets that caused her death…. YES, they killed her ( they admitted their negligence ) are walking off into the sunset … FREE. While this family suffers and Laci is forever DEAD ( TOO soon and UNNECESSARILY ). It appears that MONEY was never the object.. it was “justice for Laci and ALL pets and owners in the FUTURE.”

  • Guestk says:

    Every professional should be flawless in a perfect world, but none of us are perfect. Besides, this was a Vet School, SCHOOL being the operative word here, OK?

    My point is that the school offered to replace the dog,and take care of the incurred expenses. The couple reportedly turned it down, then turned back around and wanted it back in the way of a lawsuit.

    Quit blasting people based on your emotions. Do something helpful and comfort these people in their grief, and not be a party to inciting anger and promoting revenge.

  • Guest85 says:

    In 1986, I found myself in a similar situation, but in my case, my pet was purposefully murdered. Yes, at least I had the satisfaction of the resulting criminal record. Since I was given a replacement mutt, I was told that I could not even claim any financial loss; I had been made whole. While most pet lovers would dispute this, in my case, and this one, this falls under “frivolous lawsuit.” I agree with this decision.

  • Mumofthree says:

    I’m not sure all of you understand that these professionals have to
    be held to a certain standard or “Whoops, I’m sorry…your pet is in
    the bag by the door. Don’t forget to pay the bill on your way out.”
    is what we should all expect when we take our pets to our Veterinarian.

    This dog died because of blatant incompetence. I’m sorry that their
    claim was rejected. Very unfair to these people, darling Laci, and
    all the other pets that have been & will be injured or killed due
    to lack of competence at NC State School of Veterinary Medicine. This
    decision sends the wrong message to the instructors, school, and students…but then that depends on what kind of professionals you are trying to create at your institution.

  • Das Weibstück says:

    Its a vet “school”…… they are learning. It was a pet not a person. They can buy another one from a store or the local paper. It wont be their old dog but it is not a human. Get over it folks.

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    Call it what you will, but in the end it is a damn dog. If you are ignorant enough to spend 28,000 grand on a dog then it is your loss in the end. Life goes on. The rest of us are tired of all these stupid lawsuits. It jacks up the prices on everything. It was an accident. Get over it.

  • Guest461 says:

    …waived over $2700.00 in medical fees and offered $350.00 to replace the dog. This isn’t a perfect world and sh*t happens everyday.

    Let me sxplain something to you. The NCSU School of Veterinary Medicine is one of the finest in the country. They take on cases of sick animals that “General Vets” are unable, unprepared for and unqualified to handle. Neurological surgeries (spinal), special hip sugeries, skin problems, eye problems, diabetes, cancer treatments, etc. A mistake happened here, likely by an unqualified technician which is very unfortunate, but not at all common. I have had no less than three animals treated at the vet school with outstanding results that even dumbfounded my regular vet. They even arranged a payment schedule to help diffray the costs. With all of the work they performed on my animals, they NEVER, EVER offered any sort of guarantee, warranty or any sort of PROMISE of effective treatment results. The results were ALWAYS better than their prognostication.

    The loss of a pet is an extremely emotional experience and in my opinion the worst part of pet ownership. I definitely have understanding and sympathy for the owners, but they need to put this to rest, go get another dog and move on with life! Nobody at the NCSU vet school intentionally did anything to hurt anyone. MOVE ON and get over it!

  • Guest Petey says:

    You are correct…… these people ( VET SCHOOL ) should be held to HIGH standards. Obviously what this sweet dog ( Laci )( family member ) endured was absolutely NEGLIGENT. Shame that the COA judges did not get it. They were most disappointing about this case. This case had it all to make life so much better for pets and their owners. AND yes VETS too, if they did their job as they should. The Vet School walks away with causing the negligent death of “LACI.”

  • They screwed up. They should at least refund the $28K in chemo. That is the just thing to do. It’s not like NC State doesn’t have the money.

  • Guest2020 says:

    So, they screw up one procedure and they should have to foot the bill for the dog’s illness? That’s unreasonable.

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    get over it…..

  • Guest Pepper says:

    Really….. you know all about these folks and THEIR situation. RIGHT???? What a joke. NO, you are WRONG….. How smug of you to make comments when you NEVER lived what these people did. THINK about it. ABOUT money……..you are pathetic. OH, and I was taught unless you have walked a mile in someones shoes…. keep your mouth SHUT!!!!!!!

  • GuestK says:

    I love my pets. But I don’t understand these people.
    Not in it for the money? Really?

    If a suit like this wins in Superior Court, it is going to make vets’ insurance skyrocket, and we will all have to pay for it.
    Honor his memory, get another doggie, and move on.

  • Guest Pepper says:

    ONE PROCEDURE………be for real….. I have heard ( SADLY ) more MOST upsetting situations that pets have endured ( and the owners ) at the hands of the Vet School. So very disturbing that they get away with this every day….. thank goodness these people stood up to them.

  • Guest Petey says:

    EXCUSE ME……..Messed up ONE Procedure….. are you kidding? Did you crawl out from under a rock??? I have NEWS for you, it is known the Vet School has “MESSED” up many precious pets procedures.
    We had better change the law in this state and SOON. The Vet School needs to be held accountable for their MANY NEGLIGENT acts. This family tried to bring awareness about this situation, and to seek justice for Laci and ALL beloved companions.

  • Guest28451 says:

    they were offered exactly that to waive the massive bills they had incurred and they TURNED IT DOWN!!! so for them to claim it isnt about money is idiotic. They somehow think they can sue for tens of thousands of dollars for their dog and win.. NOT HAPPENING..

    Now because they turned that down they are still stuck for those bills except for the last bill plus $350. So guess what they rolled the dice and LOST due to GREED adn STUPIDITY

  • Guest_99x says:

    This isn’t right. The dog’s owners paid 28thousand dollars for treatment. Had the dog died of natural causes it easily follows that there is no cause for action. In this case, the dog died because someone didn’t do his or hers “due diligence”.

    An error was made by vet school personell that ended the dog’s life unnaturally. Minimally, ALL costs incurred by the dog’s owners should, in fairness, be refunded.

  • Petey says:

    Lots of people still pay great attention to this case, because it is MAJOR. How dare you act as if you know ALL that this case is about. Did you walk a mile in this families shoes? Did you see Laci struggle for her life for hours, while NO ONE helped her? That is what I read and heard happened. It has been legally recorded. So listen up……….I have heard about WAY TOO many negligent cases that happened at the Vet School. Because of the archaic law in this state ( and TOO many other states ) they get away with causing the death of OUR pets and are NOT held accountable. SHAME on them and this state for continuing to live in the dark ages. Change the law NOW. I would not ever and MANY others I know, take a pet to the Vet School again. NEVER!!!!!

  • taxpayer says:

    but the Shera’s are bringing a knife to a gun fight. Unless your Jack Russell won Best in Show at Westminster…you’re wasting you money…and your time.

  • Billy Stanley says:

    As much as I love my dog, I’m glad about how this turned out.

  • DogGurl says:

    How much did your hysterectomy cost?
    Has your dog had the same surgery lately? How much did her spay cost? Less than $500.00 I would bet.

    It is sad that these pet owners lost their beloved bet, but very good that they lost their case. I for one don’t want to see what has happened to human medicine happen to my pets.

    I know we have all griped about our vet bills, but when you put it in perspective, I take my dog to a cleaner facility, where I don’t have to wait that long, where they get a high level of care “A better physical exam than I get”, where the doctor listens to me, and takes interest in my pet’s issues. All of that care for only a small fraction of what it costs to get a lesser level of care from a human medicine practice.

    I can’t help to think that a lot of this has to do to the high settlements of malpractice cases, and insurance.

    I sometimes wish I could pretend to be a dog when I get sick.

Leave a Reply