A 2019 lawsuit filed by a pet owner whose puppy died while in the care of a Point Breeze doggy day care has been resolved with an out-of-court settlement, affirmation that pets have value beyond their price tags, said the owner and his lawyer.

“To me, what the settlement shows is that dogs aren’t just a piece of property,” said Tom Minix, 34, who recalled several attorneys advising him that he would not be able to recover more than the cost of his puppy, about $500.

“While confidential, it’s safe to say this settlement award is definitely beyond the property value of a dog,” said Jordan Strokovsky, a Center City catastrophic-injury lawyer and animal lover who represented Minix. “Pets and animals need more rights under the law and this case is a step in the right direction.”

Minix and his former girlfriend filed the lawsuit a month after their 9-month-old puppy, Leia, a black Lab/bulldog/Staffordshire terrier mix, darted through two open doors at Groom & Board at 17th and Reed Streets and was fatally struck by a passing car Oct. 17, 2019.

Strokovsky filed the suit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court in November 2019, seeking more than $50,000 in damages on claims Groom & Board was negligent and had committed consumer fraud.

While the business had two doors at the entrance as a safety measure, one was broken. That, and other security breaches, created a deadly environment for Leia, Strokovsky said.

“Mistakes were made that caused the death of Leia,” he said. “A nonemployee was able to get past the second door into an area where he shouldn’t have been and opened the gate where the dogs were playing. Another customer opened the front door and should not have been able to. Leia went through the gate, the broken door that was propped open, and through the front door that a customer opened.”

Courtney Campuzano, owner of Groom & Board, said during an interview shortly after being served with the lawsuit that a new internal door and wall were built separating the dogs from the two layers of front doors, as a result of Leia’s death.

“Leia was here every day. We were pretty close to Leia. Worst moment of my career, for sure, and one of the worst moments altogether. Everyone is sorry this happened. It’s traumatizing to all involved,” said Campuzano, who opened the Reed Street day care in 2018 and a new location in Fishtown last year. Attempts to reach her on the settlement were not successful.

Minix said he plans to make a financial donation to the Morris Animal Shelter, where he adopted Leia.

He has not gotten another dog but hopes to. “That’s my plan. I love dogs, I love puppies. It’s something now where it may be a little bit more difficult to do, just emotionally. But, yes, I do want to have a dog in the future. If not one, two.”

Strokovsky said he was hopeful the settlement will serve notice to animal caregivers that pets have rights that must be respected.

“When I heard of Leia’s passing, it hit me hard because I have a puppy of my own,” he said. “I had to step up and show that pets and pet owners have rights under the law, and these facilities can be held accountable.”