NJ Supreme Court Rules – Pets Are Not Family – Agree or Disagree [POLL]
This has to be tough for anyone who thinks of their dog as a “fur baby.”
In a ruling pertaining to a case that dates back to 2007, the NJ Supreme Court ruled against a woman who’s was suing for emotional distress when her maltipoo was mauled by a neighbor’s dog in Morris Plains.
The case stems from the experience of Joyce McDougall, who witnessed her maltipoo, Angel, being mauled to death on Mountain Way in Morris Plains on June 7, 2007.
A large, mixed-breed dog ran out from a garage of the home of Charlot Lamm on Mountain Way as McDougall -- a visitor to the area from Virginia -- was walking Angel.
The large dog grabbed Angel by the neck, shook her several times and dropped her to the ground dead.
Lamm conceded liability and a bench trial was held in Morris County on damages. The judge, who heard testimony from McDougall on her close relationship with her pet, awarded her $5,000 for the value of the dog but found that case law did not support a recovery for emotional distress because animals are considered property. The appellate division, and now the Supreme Court, upheld the trial judge.
I can safely say that were I to see little “Soaph-a-loaf” (my daughter's beagle/daschaund mix) undergo a similar fate; I too…yes, even I, would be traumatized by the sight of such an unthinkable event.
But still, a dog is a dog…not a person!
The ruling went on to say:
“Although we recognize that many people form close bonds with their pets, we conclude that those bonds do not rise to the level of a close familial relationship or intimate, marital-like bond,” the court said in a 36-page opinion.
“The bond shared between humans and animals is often an emotional and enduring one,” the court said. “Permitting it to support a recovery for emotional distress, however, would require either that we vastly expand the classes of human relationships that would qualify for (damages) or that we elevate relationships with animals above those we share with other human beings.”
You may want to grab your “fur baby” now, hold it, and whisper into its ear, “…bad bad Supreme Court. How dare they say you’re not my family!”
Do you agree with the NJ Supreme Court’s ruling that pets are not family?