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4/27/2016 Ucci bill would allow recourse for those whose pets are intentionally or negligently killed
STATE HOUSE – In most cases, pets are beloved members of their families. In some cases, they may be a person’s only family, bringing joy and love to their daily lives with their constant companionship and devotion. The loss of such a pet, particularly in a way that could have been prevented, would leave its family heartbroken and devastated.

For that reason, Rep. Stephen R. Ucci has filed legislation that would make it possible for someone to sue if someone else has caused the death of their pet, either intentionally or through negligence.

“Anyone who has loved and lost a pet knows the sadness and emptiness you feel when that pet passes away. But for those who lose their pets at the hands of someone else, that loss is even more painful. No one should have to lose their pet, know that he or she suffered needlessly, and be left with nothing but their sadness. Causing the death of a pet is a terrible thing to do, and it should be recognized as a legitimate cause for action in court,” said Representative Ucci (D-Dist. 42, Johnston, Cranston).   

The legislation (2016-H 7605) would allow someone to sue the perpetrator for up to $5,000 of non-economic damages if his or her pet or companion animal is killed or sustains injuries that result in death as a result of that person’s unlawful and intentional or negligent act. The bill would not apply to accidental deaths, such as unintentional automobile collisions that are not the result of negligence.

He added that, in the case of service animals, such a situation is a potentially life-threatening loss to the animal’s owner, leaving him or her without a constant protector who was specially and extensively trained in serving the owner’s personal needs.

"While damages, of course, would not bring back a person’s beloved pet, leaving individuals without any recourse following such a death does not serve justice, said Representative Ucci.

The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Thomas A. Palangio (D-Dist. 3, Providence), Rep. Thomas Winfield (D-Dist. 53, Glocester, Smithfield), Rep. Kenneth A. Marshall (D-Dist. 68, Bristol, Warren) and Rep. Katherine S. Kazarian (D-Dist. 63, East Providence).

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923