New Jersey Considering Emotional Pain And Suffering Law For Pets

On Monday, the New Jersey legislature will consider a bill that gives pet owners the right to sue for emotional pain and suffering. The bill was introduced by New Jersey Assemblyman Neil Cohen, D-Union.

Joyce Tischler, founding director of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, said New Jersey would become one of the few states in the nation to allow such lawsuits.

She said Tennessee allows pet owners to sue for up to $5,000 in damages. New Jersey’s proposal includes no damage limit.

However, not everyone supports the bill, citing concerns over frivolous lawsuits:

Veterinarians have opposed similar proposals in other states, arguing that such laws would increase consumer costs and encourage frivolous lawsuits.

We’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

In related state law news, Illinois lawmakers have banned the slaughter of horses. Rendered horse meat is used in the making of pet food.

(Thanks mike and martin)

56 Responses to “New Jersey Considering Emotional Pain And Suffering Law For Pets”

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  1. Kathy Hash says:

  2. ann says:

    They should make it a Federal law

  3. straybaby says:

    well that’s interesting. i didn’t realize the bill was pet food specific. and it looks like it is directed right at who it should be. thanks for posting the text Kathy!

  4. Kathy Hash says:

    Is there a law that allows claims for infliction of emotional distress for the loss of a child or spouse?

    If the law has not extended the right to sue for emotional damages in the deprivation of a close human relationship, it would not be acceptable to extend this right for the loss of property.

    Under the law an animal is property. I strongly feel that it would be detrimental to all pets and owners if we change the legal definition of animals from property to human (with rights). I expect that if this law is passed with #9 and #10, that it will be challenged as unconstitutional. I have no problem with #1-#8 and I have no problem with the pet food safety Act.

    Damages shall be reasonable compensation, in current dollars, for, and may include but need not be limited to, the following:
    (1) monetary value of the animal;
    (2) replacement value of the animal;
    (3) breeding potential of the animal;
    (4) veterinary expenses incurred in treating the animal;
    (5) burial or cremation expenses;
    (6) reimbursement of animal training expenses;
    (7) any unique or special value of the animal, such as when the injured or dead animal is a guide or service animal or a show animal;
    (8) lost wages incurred due to the loss or disability of the animal;
    (9) loss of companionship; and
    (10) emotional distress suffered by the owner or any immediate family member thereof, whether deemed to have been inflicted intentionally or negligently.

  5. Kathy Hash says:

    Does anyone know the relationship (if any) of Pa. State Rep. Mark Cohen who has joined a federal class-action suit for emotional distress damages due to his dog becoming ill from eating Nutro, and said this “The recall “raises serious animal-rights issues” and NJ Assemblyman Neil M Cohen, sponsor of this bill? Link

  6. Kathy Hash says:

    Last year the AKC opposed and bill introduced by Neil Cohen which would have virtually eliminated responsible hobby breeding in the state of New Jersey. Link

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