The wrongful death of Avery Medlen has brought a curious debate over property rights before the Texas Supreme Court.The justices will be asked this morning to let a couple seek compensation for a Fort Worth city employee's negligence in accidentally destroying their property.But in this case, the effort to vindicate damage to personal property is being vigorously contested.Because Avery was a dog.Avery wasn't a certified show dog used for lucrative breeding or a ranch-hand kind of animal whose work was readily quantifiable. But he meant a lot to Kathryn and Jeremy Medlen, who'd owned him for eight years.At the very least, they were willing to pay the almost $100 it would have taken to get him from Fort Worth's animal shelter after he escaped and was picked up. But shelter worker Carla Strickland euthanized the dog (despite a "hold for owner" tag) before they could do that.In November 2011, a three-judge panel of the 2nd Court of Appeals in Fort Worth ruled that a jury should determine how much the Medlens can be compensated for Avery's sentimental value.Strickland appealed, backed by veterinarians groups and pet industry groups. The Supreme Court must decide whether the appellate ruling is consistent with an interpretation of Texas law dating to 1891 or is a boneheaded expansion of property rights."Allowing loss of animal companionship damages in a state with a pet population as large as Texas's would result in a litigation tsunami with no stopping point, ultimately affecting the quality and costs of pet services to the detriment of pets and their owners, as well as other business interests in the state," John Cayce, a former Court of Appeals chief justice, argued in a brief for Strickland.Bedford lawyer Randy Turner, who represents the Medlens, countered that the case is about whether Texans can seek damages when someone destroys their personal property, even when it has little market value.Cayce argued that the courts should let the Legislature handle it.Lawmakers could address it, even if the Supreme Court lets the Medlens go before a jury.