Dog Laws – Gracie’s Law Says Dogs More Than Property
Your dog is a member of your family, not a piece of property. But that’s how your state probably sees it. It’s like if something in your home was lost, stolen or damaged – the same rules apply to your dog. When it comes to dog laws, not everyone in your house is treated equal.
A lot of people think these dog laws need to be changed, including Kenneth Newman, a 33-year veterinarian and author of the book, “Meet Me at the Rainbow Bridge.” He has proposed a law called Gracie’s Law, which recognizes the emotional bond between pet and owner and entitles the owner of a pet killed through an act of malice or negligence to $25,000 in damages.
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The dog law comes out of a personal tragedy –Newman’s dog Gracie was killed in April 2008 when a driver backed up 25 yards without looking, crushing Newman and Gracie between two vehicles. He suffered a broken leg, but Gracie was killed in the accident.
“An attorney looked me in the eye and said that my dog was a piece of property, that I wasn’t entitled to anything for the dog, and that this was a simple broken-leg case,” said Newman.
When the case went to court, Newman learned that the loss of his beloved companion had no standing in the case. “An attorney looked me in the eye and said that my dog was a piece of property, that I wasn’t entitled to anything for the dog, and that this was a simple broken-leg case,” said Newman.
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In every state, he says, laws view pets as property. Owners are entitled to no more than replacement value, which means no worth or consideration when it comes the loss of companionship, grief, or pain and suffering.
Recently, there has been an increase of cases involving pet owners, one of the most common being visitation when a martial union ends in separation or divorce. As well, a case that went to court in April saw a Denver judge award $65,000 for the death of a dog when a cleaning service allowed the dog to get outside, where it was hit by a car.
What do you think about Gracie’s Law? Does it go too far or not far enough? Do you think it has a chance of passing? Do you have an experience where this law would have helped you? Please leave your thoughts, stories and opinions about dog laws in the comments section below.
Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).
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