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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 15, 2015 05:13 PM
From: Senator Andrew E. Dinniman
To: All Senate members
Subject: Civil damages for harm to or killing of dog or cat
I will soon re-introduce a bill to amend the Judicial Code to expand the civil action one may take against one who hurts or kills their dog or cat by a negligent or intentional act. Currently, such civil action may only ask for economic damages; basically the price paid for the pet. Under my bill, one could sue up to $12,000 in non-economic damages in magisterial district court.

I introduce this bill in recognition of the companionship and affection provided to us by such pets, and subsequently the real, non-economic loss we suffer when someone takes our pets from us through a negligent or intentional act.

Under my bill, a court could award the maximum $12,000 civil penalty if the act killing the pet is deemed “unlawful” or “intentional.” If the act leading to the pet’s harm or death is simply deemed “negligent,” a court could award a maximum civil penalty of $5,000. A finding of negligence could only occur if the death or injury occurs on the pet-owner’s property or if the dog or cat was under the direct control and supervision of pet owner at the time it was harmed or killed. Incidents in parks where dogs are unleashed would not be covered under my bill.

My bill specifically exempts veterinarians, non-profit entities, governments, and their employees acting on behalf of public health and animal welfare and the killing of any dog killing or pursuing livestock.

Co-sponsors of Senate Bill 628 from last session were Senators ERICKSON, TARTAGLIONE, RAFFERTY, FARNESE and COSTA.

Introduced as SB593