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New York Alert: Bill Mandating Non-Economic Damages to be Considered by Committee on Thursday, May 28 – Express Opposition Now!

Friday, May 22, 2015

A bill to be considered by the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee on Thursday, May 28, seeks to mandate non-economic damages (i.e., those damages that cannot be readily assigned an economic value, like loss of society, companionship, and comfort) in cases involving the wrongful death of or injury to a companion animal.  The bill, Assembly Bill 3443, would also permit the imposition of punitive damages in such cases; and would require damages received to be placed in trust that would revert to unnamed non-profit organizations if any trust proceeds remained at the death of the animal. 

The American Kennel Club (AKC) opposes the imposition of non-economic damages as would be allowed with AB 3443 and believes that any assumption that non-economic damages are “pro-animal” is patently wrong.  While a few individual owners may momentarily benefit from such financial awards, their pets themselves do not, and other people’s pets will end up going without needed medical care.  This is because the cost of all pet care, veterinary or otherwise, will increase due to this new liability, causing many owners to be unable or unwilling to provide their pets with necessary and proper treatments, supplies, and care. 

For more information on the issue of non-economic damages, please read AKC’s issue analysis about Non-Economic Damages and the Legal Status of Animals  “Key Issue” page  on AKC GR’s new Legislative Action Center.

The American Kennel Club is not alone in its stance opposing noneconomic damages for injuries to or loss of animals. In addition to other organizations, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Animal Health Institute both oppose laws permitting such recovery. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
All dog owners in New York State concerned with the far-reaching consequences of AB 3443 are strongly encouraged to contact the members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, respectfully express their opposition to the radical proposal, and request they vote against the bill.  

Assemblywoman Helene E. Weinstein, Chair — WeinstH@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman William A. Barclay — BarclaW@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein — braunsteine@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman David Buchwald — BuchwaldD@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz — DinowiJ@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Andy Goodell — goodella@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Al Graf — grafa@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner — joynerl@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky — kaminskyt@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine — LavineC@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Chad A. Lupinacci — LupinacciC@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Michael Montesano — MontesanoM@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Anthony H. Palumbo — palumboa@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Dan Quart — quartd@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Rebecca A. Seawright — SeawrightR@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Jo Anne Simon — simonj@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Phil Steck — SteckP@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Matthew Titone — TitoneM@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblywoman Michele R. Titus — TitusM@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman David I. Weprin — weprind@assembly.state.ny.us

Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski — ZebrowskiK@assembly.state.ny.us

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org

A bill to be considered by the New York State Assembly Judiciary Committee on Thursday, May 28, seeks to mandate non-economic damages (i.e., those damages that cannot be readily assigned an economic value, like loss of society, companionship, and comfort) in cases involving the wrongful death of or injury to a companion animal.

The bill, Assembly Bill 3443, would also permit the imposition of punitive damages in such cases; and would require damages received to be placed in trust that would revert to unnamed non-profit organizations if any trust proceeds remained at the death of the animal.

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