TAMPA, FL--(Marketwire - Jul 11, 2012) - In his new book "Meet Me at the Rainbow Bridge" (www.meetmeattherainbowbridge.com), veterinarian Kenneth Newman makes the case for creating a law that would recognize the emotional bond between pets and owners -- and require courts to consider that in cases involving animals.

The book begins with a real-life tragedy in which a careless driver backs up 25 yards without looking, striking Newman and his beloved Labrador, Gracie, and pinning them between the veterinarian's station wagon and the driver's bumper. This inspired him to propose Gracie's Law, which would entitle the owner of a pet killed through an act of malice or negligence to $25,000 in damages.

"It's time we change the laws to more accurately reflect what pets mean to the average American," he says. "Ninety percent of pet owners consider their animals to be part of the family."

Gracie's Law would not supersede current laws, which entitle owners to the property value of their pet, he says. And it would not replace criminal prosecution for acts of malice. Owners who decline a recommended veterinarian procedure to save a pet would not be held accountable under the law, he says.

"An attorney looked me in the eye and said that my dog was a piece of property, that I wasn't entitled to anything for the dog," he says.

In every state, he says, laws view pets as property. Owners are entitled to no more than replacement value; no law takes into consideration the loss of companionship, grief, or pain and suffering.

But there have been numerous recent cases in wherein judges have been willing to hear arguments from plaintiffs about why their pet was worth more than an estimated market value, "so there's hope," Newman says.

To read Gracie's Law and copy it to share, visit Newman's website, click "image gallery" and scroll down.

About Kenneth Newman DVM

Kenneth Newman graduated from Purdue University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1979, and has been a veterinarian for 33 years. After experiencing a badly broken leg and the death of his Labrador retriever in 2008, he drafted and began advocating for Gracie's Law. Newman lives with his wife and their son, as well as several pets.

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Ginny Grimsley