Kenneth Newman, DVM, Begins Lobbying for Gracie's Law in Florida

St. Petersburg, FL, August 18, 2010 --( Kenneth Newman, DVM, author of Meet Me at the Rainbow Bridge, met with Florida State Representative Rick Kriseman, and Liada LaBonte, Chief Legislative Assistant to Florida State Senator Dennis Jones, to find a sponsor for Gracie’s Law.

Dr. Newman composed Gracie’s Law to honor Gracie, his deceased Labrador Retriever, who was killed by a negligent driver that backed up 25 yards without looking, crushing Gracie and Dr. Newman between the two cars.

The proposed law allows the owner of a pet that is killed through a deliberate act of malice or through an act of negligence to compensation for loss of companionship and pain and suffering. The laws in all 50 states consider pets as property, and an owner is only entitled to the cash value of a pet at the time of its death.

Pet owners have recently challenged the legal status of pets in the courts. The Vermont Supreme Court has heard two notable cases. The Goodby case involved a compounding pharmacist who killed the two Goodby cats by misformulating the cat’s blood pressure medicine. The Scheele case involved the death of their dog that wandered into a yard that neighbored a church where the Scheeles had stopped to allow their dog to relieve itself. The property owner shot Shadow with a pellet gun, intending to scare the dog off of his property. The pellet hit Shadow in the chest, severing the aorta, and Shadow bled to death in his mother’s arms.

The Vermont Supreme Court, although empathetic to the emotional attachment of the pet owners, refused to award compensation above the minimal cash value of these pets. They further opined that the issue is a legislative issue that must be decided in each state.

Mr. Kriseman said he would support Gracie’s Law, but could not sponsor the law because of previous commitments. Ms. LaBonte sent the law to Tallahassee for judicial review.

Dr. Newman hopes to change this inequity in the law so that the emotional loss of a pet will be validated in the future. Please go to for more information.

Kenneth Newman, DVM
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