“They need to have equal rights”

by Walter Olson on March 10, 2008

A snapshot from Massachusetts of the campaign (national in scope) to create rights to sue for intangible damages against veterinarians, motorists, and others judged to have negligently killed a pet. Debra Campanile of Haverhill is on a mission to enact such a law, which, along with provisions for unbounded emotional distress damages, would require punitive damages to be awarded in a sum of at least $2,500. The story does not specify whether the $2,500 would be payable per incident or per actual creature whose life was ended, which could make quite a difference in the case of negligently knocking over Billy’s ant farm. (Laurel J. Sweet, “Push for liability in animal deaths would put….”, Boston Herald, Mar. 10).

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Emotional value of lost pets, cont’d
09.18.08 at 2:23 pm


1 Anonymous Attorney 03.10.08 at 10:02 am

Our hearty forebears would be baffled by this. But they would be baffled by a lot of other things, too.

2 Igor 03.10.08 at 1:57 pm

Anonymous Attorney, I think the correct word here would be “aghast”. I’m pretty sure they are spinning in their graves at about 10,000 RPM and gaining momentum…


3 Peter M 03.10.08 at 3:35 pm

If you grant pets “equal rights” how long before they get the right to vote?

4 Tom T. 03.10.08 at 5:28 pm

This campaign is just agitating as to run-of-the-mill pets, right? For expensive breeds of dogs (or horses, etc.), actual damages can be available for negligence, in the amount of the price of the animal, or its expected breeding value, can’t they?

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