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New legislature in CO

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
There is a new House Bill being introduced into the Legislature in Colorado this session that is getting a lot of attention. (For anyone interested it is HB 1260)

It would raise the status of a pet from property to a companion and is the first Bill of it's kind in the nation. The laws recently passed in California state that you are a "guardian" of an animal, not just an "owner" but it is pretty much just a semantic difference in status. This Bill actually has some teeth and legal ramifications. As the law stands now, if your pet dies because of malpractice of a vet, caretaker or animal abuse the most you can sue for is the "fair market value" of the animal - what it would cost to replace it with an animal of similar breed and age. They are no more than property, treated in the court in the same way as your car, watch, wallet, etc. The new Bill would make a pet a "companion" which would allow compensation for malpractice, neglect, or abuse to take into account "loss of companionship." In other words, you could sue someone who kills or seriously injures your pet for up to $100,000. (Yes, that is the number they showed on the news.) Some Vet groups are already opposing this legislation because they say it will drive up the cost of veterinary care, and when people can't afford to care for their pets they will end up in shelters.

Any thoughts on this type of legisation?
post #2 of 4


This is a HARD one. While the intentions of the Bill are good in that the value of a pet would no longer be a replaceable animal. That's the ONLY part of the bill I do like.

The part I don't like is the compensation. It's in monetary terms. A companion can NEVER be replaced. No two animals are alike. Also it would drive vet costs up as they would require insurance to cater for this new bill. Pet owners/guardians will have to pay for this added cost. It would be unfair to expect vets to absorb this cost.

If the compensation was to place the offender in an animal shelter or rescue program as a community service program, it would benefit other animals and perhaps allow them to see what the cruelty and neglect dealt out to animals results in.

And for the owner, what is $100 000 going to do? It won't bring their loved one back, all the money in the world wouldn't be able to do that. Yes, owners deserve compensation but who can put a price on a loved one? If I lost any loved one, be it furbaby or two legged, due to negligence or abuse, I would not want money. I would simply want my loved one back. Any money gained would be donated to the community.

post #3 of 4
Loveless gem, I see your point, but any animal lover would want her pet back, not money. I think the potential animal abuser would think twice before acting if the law had teeth. There is no such thing as a perfect law. This is the first time I have heard of an attempt to consider a pet as more than replacable property, and I applaud the attempt!

We will probably have to carry insurance on our pets if vets' prices rise. Nevertheless, the heartache of having an abused or mistreated pet has been ignored, and I am grateful someone is considering change.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Mags, I'm a bit torn by this proposal myself. I think it is great that they are finally seeing that pets are not "just property" but at the same time the medical community has already seen what lawsuits can do to their practices and costs of doing business. Doctors on the East Coast are striking to protest the unimaginable costs of malpractice insurance and for reforms to the current system that allows such huge lawsuits to be filed. At the same time, it would be another deterrant to animal abusers if they know that they can be sued for a large amount of money if they hurt someone else's animal. I also think it would be a good thing to keep vets in check. After reading some of the horror stories on here about how some vets treat animals, and yet there is little or nothing that the person can do about it, I think it would be a good thing to hold them legally responsible for malpractice. I can also see major abuse of the system, in the same way that medical malpractice has gotten out of control. That's why I brought it up here...I'm still undecided as to whether it is a good Bill or not. I honestly don't think that it will pass as it is written right now, and I do certainly applaud them for trying.
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