Scruffles the English Bulldog has lent his name to legislation that could help countless pet guardians in the wake of a misfortune similar to what had happened to him. To his family’s shock, Scruffles died untimely during a routine grooming appointment at the PetSmart in Flemington, New Jersey. Finding no legal recourse in the situation, his guardian, Danielle DiNapoli, decided to do something – make every effort to pass a law in his name to make sure that anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation can find justice.
Alarmingly, PetSmart is now facing allegations of mistreatment after at least four dogs have died during grooming appointments within the last five months! DiNapoli’s attorney and congressional candidate Daryl Kipnis is looking to change this reality by proposing an animal justice revision to the New Jersey Civil Code. The revision would allow pet guardians to sue for damages, including statutory damages of $10,000.
The “Scruffles Law” has already been introduced for consideration by the New Jersey State Legislature. The legislation recognizes the relationship that guardians of companion animals have with their pets and it gives them powerful legal remedies against individuals who are responsible for their animals’ injury or death, be it through negligence, recklessness, or animal cruelty.
Passing the law would bring a serious and much-needed change. Under current New Jersey law, pets are essentially seen as property and a guardian can only recover economic damages against an individual responsible for harming their animal. As a result of that law, many animal abusers are not taken to court at all.
Scruffles Law would be a huge step forward for animal rights and the legal situation of domestic companion animals – we can only hope a similar measure will become federal law, allowing all pet guardians to exact justice if their animals are harmed. Click here to sign a Care2 petition asking for a federal law considering pets more as family members and less like property in the event of injury or death!
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