Semen, worth $400,000? In this case, yes: An Oregon jury has awarded two men the eye-popping sum over dog semen that was allegedly damaged or destroyed. Richard Weiner and Brad Barcroft, both dog breeders, had accused the International Canine Semen Bank of mishandling the frozen semen of prized Labrador Retrievers. A jury ruled in their favor earlier this month and based the award on estimated future value of the pups, USA Today reports. Such disputes "can occasionally result in fairly significant awards/settlements given the high dollar value that certain dogs and horses (and even cats) can command in certain marketplaces," says the mens' attorney, Geordie Duckler. "This verdict nevertheless is on the larger end of that spectrum."
Seems Weiner had paid the bank to gather and store the semen in 1995, then sold some to Barcroft in 2012, but tests soon showed that the semen had degraded in value. The Oregonian reports that by one account, a freezer door had been left open, while USA Today says bank employees had allegedly "mixed and diluted the goods." Either way, the breeders sued for $800,000 and got half what they wanted. "But it is what it is," Weiner says over the lost semen. "And there's not much I can do about it." Weiner says he especially grieves the loss of offspring from the award-winning dog King, whose father, San Joaquin Honcho, was US National Field Champion in 1976. The semen bank says it will appeal the case over evidence issues and possible witness tampering. (Read more dog breeders stories.)