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Bills address lawsuits over pet deaths, injuries

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A lost pet's love may be worth up to $5,000, under bills filed Monday in the House and Senate.

Similar measures (SB 1270, HB 1067), filed by Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, and Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, would put into law a framework for people suing over injuries or deaths of pet dogs and cats.

Moskowitz said last week that under current law, household pets are viewed no different than a piece of furniture when it comes to damage claims.

"I have tried for the longest time to increase how the justice system looks at domesticated animals," Moskowitz said. "Here's why, it will increase litigation."

The measure would allow pet owners to recover "reasonable and necessary" veterinary costs due to injuries or deaths of pets, along with fair market value of the pets.

If pets were injured or killed through gross negligence, the owners could seek up to $5,000 for the "loss of the reasonably expected companionship, love, and affection of the pet."

Veterinarians and people working for non-profit or government agencies that might cause the deaths of pets, while acting on behalf of public health or animal welfare, would be shielded from liability.