Recent pet deaths prompt call for new compensation law

Posted: Updated:
Recent pet deaths prompt call for new compensation law Recent pet deaths prompt call for new compensation law

The deaths of three dogs at New Jersey PetSmart locations recently has prompted an attorney to call for more penalties against stores or people who abuse animals.

Although many pet owners say that they consider their animals to be members of their families, pets are only considered property under current laws. Pet owners can only recover the cost of their animal if it dies and not punitive damages.

But a New Jersey woman and her attorney hope to change this with the introduction of “Scruffles’s Law,” named for Danielle DiNapoli’s 8-year-old bulldog Scruffles who died in December after being groomed at a Flemington PetSmart.

The dog’s cause of death has not been determined. DiNapoli said that she had no recourse for her loss, so she hired attorney Daryl Kipnis, who wrote up the proposal for the law.

“It deters acts of animal abuse and negligence,” Kipnis says.

The law would allow a pet owner to file suit for economic damages that would include the value of the animal, plus veterinary and burial expenses. It also includes statutory damages of $10,000 and punitive damages for emotional distress.

Kipnis says that that key to the law is to recognize that a pet is more than property.

"I have a proposal here I think is very powerful and I think it protects the interests of animal owners, and recognizes the bonds between a family and a family pet,” Kipnis says.

Kipnis is now pushing his bill toward members of the state Assembly. He says he is looking for sponsors who would introduce it in Trenton so it can be considered as a law.

  • New Jersey SlideshowsGalleriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: George H.W. Bush through the years

    PHOTOS: George H.W. Bush through the years

    George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died Nov. 30 at the age of 94.

    George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died Nov. 30 at the age of 94.

  • Your 2018 New Jersey Holiday Lights Photos

    Your 2018 New Jersey Holiday Lights Photos

    Monday, December 10 2018 12:00 AM EST2018-12-10 05:00:41 GMT
    Alan Woinski's display on Pascack Road in Paramus.Alan Woinski's display on Pascack Road in Paramus.

    Do you think you have a great holiday lights display? Check out some of the submissions for the News 12 New Jersey Lights Up the Holidays series.

    Do you think you have a great holiday lights display? Check out some of the submissions for the News 12 New Jersey Lights Up the Holidays series.

  • Gift Guides: Gifts for everyone on your list

    Gift Guides: Gifts for everyone on your list

    Wednesday, December 5 2018 7:37 AM EST2018-12-05 12:37:03 GMT
    From Jack-Jack, of the "Incredibles," to the newest Fingerlings toy, we have a list of the hottest toys for the kids in your list!From Jack-Jack, of the "Incredibles," to the newest Fingerlings toy, we have a list of the hottest toys for the kids in your list!

    We have a list of the best gifts for everyone on your list!

    We have a list of the best gifts for everyone on your list!

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."