HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 667        FILED ON: 1/14/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1561

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Michael J. Soter

_________________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to the wrongful death or injury of animal companions.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Michael J. Soter

8th Worcester

David F. DeCoste

5th Plymouth

Shawn Dooley

9th Norfolk

Ryan C. Fattman

Worcester and Norfolk

Joseph D. McKenna

18th Worcester

Alyson M. Sullivan

7th Plymouth


HOUSE DOCKET, NO. 667        FILED ON: 1/14/2019

HOUSE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1561

By Mr. Soter of Bellingham, a petition (accompanied by bill, House, No. 1561) of Michael J. Soter and others for legislation relative to the wrongful death or injury of animal companions.  The Judiciary.

 

[SIMILAR MATTER FILED IN PREVIOUS SESSION
SEE SENATE, NO. 882 OF 2017-2018.]

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

 

_______________

In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court
(2019-2020)

_______________

 

An Act relative to the wrongful death or injury of animal companions.

 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

SECTION 1. Section 85A of chapter 272 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence.

SECTION 2. Said chapter 272, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after section 85A the following section:-

Section 85A 1/2.

(a) As used in this section, the term "animal-companion" shall mean a dog, cat or any warm-blooded, domesticated non-human animal dependent on one or more human persons for food, shelter, veterinary care, or companionship.  Animal-companion shall  not include animals that are the subjects of legal, humane farming practices, legal, humane biomedical research practices or activities regulated by the federal Animal Welfare Act.

(b) A person who by willful, wanton, reckless or negligent act or omission kills or causes or procures the death of an animal-companion shall be liable in damages for the fair monetary value of the deceased animal to his or her human companions, including damages for the loss of the reasonably expected society, companionship, comfort, protection and services of the deceased animal to his or her human companions; reasonable burial expenses of the deceased animal; court costs and attorney's fees; and other reasonable damages resulting from the willful, wanton, reckless or negligent act or omission. Non-economic damages shall have a cap value of $25,000.

(c) A person who by willful, wanton, reckless or negligent act or omission injures, or causes or procures to be injured, an animal-companion shall be liable in damages for the expenses of veterinary and other special medical care required; the loss of reasonably expected society, companionship, comfort, protection and services of the injured animal to his or her human companions; court costs and attorney's fees; and other reasonable damages resulting from the willful, wanton, reckless or negligent act or omission. Non-economic damages shall have a cap value of $25,000.

(d) Damages under this section for injuries sustained by an animal shall be recovered in an action of tort by the aggrieved or a guardian ad litem or next friend, commenced within three years from the date of injury or from the date when the aggrieved or guardian ad litem or next friend knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, of the factual basis for a cause of action.