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Pet Damages: Related Statutes

Statute Name Citation Summary
CA - Damages - Injuries to animals; exemplary damages   CA CIVIL 3340   Exemplary damages may be given for injuries to animals committed in disregard of humanity either willfully or through gross negligence.  
CA - Theft - 487e. Grand theft; dog exceeding value of $950   CA PENAL 487e  

These provisions of the California Penal Code deal with stealing dogs and other animals. A person who feloniously steals, takes, or carries away a dog of another where the dog's value exceeds $950 is guilty of grand theft. If the value of the dog is less than $950, it is petty theft. If a person steals or maliciously takes an animal of another for purposes of sale, medical research, slaughter, or other commercial use (or does so by fraud or false representation), he or she commits a public offense punishable by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding 1 year or in the state prison.

DE - Property - 910. Dogs deemed personal property; theft; penalty.   9 Del.C. 910 (formerly 7 Del.C. 1708)   Dogs are considered personal property in Delaware.  
ID - Dog, property - Chapter 28. Dogs.   ID ST 25-2807   This Idaho statute states that dogs are considered property.  It further provides that no entity of state or local government may by ordinance or regulation prevent the owner of any dog from protecting it from loss by the use of an electronic locating collar.  
IL - Cruelty Generally - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes (Humane Care for Animals Act)   IL ST CH 510 70/1 - 18; IL ST CH 720 5/12-35  

This comprehensive Humane Care of Animals Act from Illinois gives the requisite anti-cruelty provisions.  "Animal" means every living creature, domestic or wild, but does not include man.  Notably, the Act includes a provisions for psychological counseling for a person convicted of violating this section.  An individual is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor for the first offense and a second or subsequent violation is a Class 4 felony with every day that a violation continues constituting a separate offense.  The Act includes special provisions for juveniles and "companion animal hoarders" (510 ILCS 70/2.10).  The cruelty provisions are listed at 510 ILCS 70/3.01, 3.02, and 3.03.  The statute also prohibits the marketing and distribution of depictions of animal torture or cruelty for entertainment purposes (510 ILCS 70/3.03-1).

IL - Service Animal - Chapter 740. Civil Liabilities.   IL ST CH 740 13/1 - 10   Under this Illinois statute, a physically impaired person may bring an action for both economic and noneconomic damages against a person who steals, injures, or attacks his or her assistance animal with hazardous chemicals (provided he or she reasonably knew the guide dog was present and the chemical was hazardous).  The economic damages recoverable include veterinary medical expenses, replacement costs, and temporary replacement assistance (provided by person or animal).  No cause of action lies where the physically impaired person was committing a civil or criminal trespass at the time of the attack or theft.  
IN - Property - (Repealed by P.L.162-2006, SEC.49.) - Dogs as Personal Property for Taxation   IN ST 15-5-10-1 - (Repealed by P.L.162-2006, SEC.49.)   Dogs are considered personal property in Indiana (repealed).  
MD - Pet Injuries, Damages - tle 11. Judgments.   MD CTS & JUD PRO 11-110   This Maryland statute provides that the measure of damages for tortious injury or death to a pet is the market value of the pet before the injury, or the cost of veterinary care that does not exceed $7,500.  
MI - Statute of Limitations -Chapter 58. Limitation of Actions   M.C.L.A. 600.5805  

This Michigan statute outlines the statute of limitations for injuries to persons or property.  Under the statute, actions for malpractice have a two-year statute of limitation.

NM - Property - Chapter 77. Animals and Livestock.   NMSA 1978, 77-1-1   Dogs, cats and domestic birds are considered personal property in New Mexico.  
NV - Property - Chapter 193. General Provisions.   N. R. S. 193.021  

Dogs, domestic animals and birds are considered personal property in Nevada.

NY - Dogs - Consolidated Dog Laws   McKinney's Agriculture and Markets Law 106 - 127, 331 - 332, 400 - 410; McKinney's ECL 11-0529, 11-0901 - 0928, 11-2117; McKinney's General Business Law 399-aa, 751 - 755; McKinney's General Municipal Law 88, 209-cc; McKinney's General Obligations Law 11-107; McKinney's Lien Law 183; McKinney's Public Health Law 1310, 505-a, 2140 - 2146; McKinney's Town Law 130; McKinney's Vehicle and Traffic Law 601   These New York statutes comprise the state's dog laws.  Among the provisions include state licensing requirements, the sale of dogs by pet dealers, rabies control laws, and provisions related to dogs and hunting.  
NY - Property - Chapter 69. Of the Consolidated Laws.   McKinney's Agriculture and Markets Law 366   This New York statute provides that it is a crime to steal dogs, defined as:  removing the collar, identification tag or any other identification by which the owner may be ascertained from any dog, cat or any other domestic animal; seizing or molesting any dog, while it is being held or led by any person or while it is properly muzzled or wearing a collar with an identification tag attached, except where such action is incidental to the enforcement of some law or regulation; or transporting any dog, not lawfully in his possession, for the purpose of killing or selling such dog.  
NY - Service Animal - Chapter 24-A. Of the Consolidated Laws.   McKinney's General Obligations Law 11-107  

Under this New York statute, a disabled person whose guide, hearing or service dog is injured due to the negligence of the owner of another dog in handling that other dog may recover damages from the owner or custodian of the non-guide guide dog.  These damages include veterinarian fees, replacement or retraining costs for the guide dog, lost wages, or damages for loss of mobility during retraining or replacement of the dog.

OK - Property - 1717. Dog as personal property   OK ST T. 21 1717   Dogs are considered personal property in Oklahoma.  
OR - Property - 609.020. Dogs declared personal property   O.R.S. 609.020   Dogs are considered personal property in Oregon.  
TN - Expert - 29-26-115. Burden of proof; expert witnesses   T. C. A. 29-26-115  

This Tennessee statute provides the requirements for the claimant’s burden of proof under malpractice actions, including, inter alia, the proof that the defendant’s actions fell below the recognized standard of acceptable professional practice in the community, proximate cause, and proof by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant’s actions were negligent.

TN - Pet Damages - 44-17-403. Liability for death of pet; damages; exemptions   T. C. A. 44-17-403   This Tennessee statute provides that a pet owner may seek non-economic damages up to $5,000 for the death of his or her pet against the person who is liable for causing the death or injuries that led to the animal's death.  The person causing the pet's death must have done so intentionally or, if negligently,  the incident must have occurred either on the owner or pet caretaker's property or while in the control and supervision of the caretaker.  These damages are not for the intentional infliction of emotional distress of the owner or other civil claim, but rather for the direct loss of "reasonably expected society, companionship, love and affection of the pet."  
US - Civil Rights - Civil Action for Deprivation of Civil Rights   42 U.S.C.A. 1983  

This law is the primary means by which a person can bring a violation of a constitutional right. To prevail in a claim under section 1983, the plaintiff must meet two elements: a person subjected the plaintiff to conduct that occurred under color of state law, and this conduct deprived the plaintiff of rights, privileges, or immunities guaranteed under federal law or the U.S. Constitution. The statute provides immunity for persons operating under "color of law" acting in their official capacities.

WI - Cats - Question 62 - DEFEATED   Wisconsin 2005 Question 62  

This controversial measure would have allowed hunters to hunt any cat that was found free roaming, meaning it did not exhibit a collar or other signs of domestic ownership.  At the Monday, April 11, 2005 meeting of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, those in favor of the feral cat hunting proposal approved the measure by a vote of 6,830 to 5,201.  This approval was then forwarded to the state Natural Resources Board for consideration.  Proponents of the measure suggest feral cats expose domestic animals to disease and endanger native songbirds.  Opponents of the measure counter that such a law would be cruel and archaic, putting domestic cats who have escaped from their homes at risk of death.  On May 25, 2005 at the Natural Resources Board regular spring meeting, a representative of the Congress indicated that the Executive Committee has declined to pursue the issue any further.  (See the official meeting minutes at page 5 at  Feral cat advocates claimed a public relations victory, as the measure gained national and even international criticism.  (See Alley Cat Allies at  (For more on the procedural history of this measure, see the "Long Summary" under the "Statute Details" above).   


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