Scruffles Law May Allow Up To $10,000 In Grooming Damages

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
New Jersey may soon allow pet owners to sue for damages in the event their pet dies as part of a grooming incident, as Scruffles Law is under review.

The law, named after Danielle DiNapoli’s English bulldog Scruffles, would allow New Jersey pet parents to sue for substantial damages if their pet was injured or killed as part of a grooming event. Scruffles died last year after he was groomed at a PetSmart in Flemington, New Jersey.

Related: Recent Deaths Spur New Jersey Lawmakers To Regulate Pet Grooming Industry

PetSmart offered no additional information as to what exactly happened to Scruffles, and DiNapoli found that there was no legal recourse for suspected negligence or recklessness with pets are cared for by others. She wanted to change that, and in April, her attorney, Daryl Kipnis, who is also a congressional candidate for the state, proposed an animal justice revision to the Civil Code in the state. The revision would allow pet owners to sue facilities/caregivers for damages of up to $10,000.

Kipnis said the legislation understands that pets have relationships with their companion animals and there should be legal recourse when their pets are injured or killed through cruelty, negligence and/or recklessness.

Already, New Jersey is looking to make history, as it may become the first state in the country that would require licensing certification for pet groomers. The legislation that would require that is controversial, as some call it good for pets while others call it an attempt to monopolize grooming practices.

Related: New Jersey Bill Will Require Dog Trainers To Be State-Licensed

An independent investigation by NJ Advance Media found that nearly 50 dogs have died nationwide at/after PetSmart grooming appointments, and thirty-two of the deaths have occurred since 2015, when PetSmart was bought by a private equity firm.

Kipnis and DiNapoli believe Scruffles Law would be the first major step in making grooming sessions safer for pets all over the country and being a model for accountability for groomers nationwide.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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