Police in Pasadena, Texas say that a Houston-area woman had a curious way of convincing her ex-husband to return her jewelry. She took his seven pet goldfish, fried them, and ate three of them. The other four were found fried and laid out on a plate. I can’t imagine how this man let this woman go.
What is fascinating is that the police ruled out any criminal charges for stealing and eating the pets of an ex-spouse. It appears that in Texas you can grab your ex’s pet and feast on Terrier Tartare or Poodle Pad Thai without charges.
In torts, this is an example of the problem with establishing damages for the loss of pets. Technically, the law values a pet at their replacement or purchase price in the market rather than their subjective value to the owner. This is ironic since recently a court awarded shared custody of a pug like a child (here), but if you kill the dog, you pay market costs. The real value of such acts is captured through claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, which effectively translate the value in terms of the emotional cost to the human owner.