NJ family unsatisfied with Army offer in aftermath of cat’s death from errant artillery shell

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The US Army has made its final settlement offer to a New Jersey family whose cat lost her life after an artillery test shell went a mile beyond the test site and fell through the roof of their home in 2008. Frederick and Cheryl Anne Engel of Jefferson, NJ say they are unlikely to accept the offer, made last month, and plan to appeal or take the matter to District Court. Sara, the family cat, was lying on the Engels’ daughter Cassie’s bed, where the shell landed, at the time of the hit and had to be euthanized.

The U.S. Army Claims Service offer of $7,386 breaks down to $780 for the care and euthanization of Sara, $1,687 to replace bedroom furniture and $4,919 to repair damage to the roof.

The family says the vet bill came to $1,000, and they want to be compensated for the emotional damages that they claim have caused great suffering to Mrs. Engel and her son. The U.S. Army Claims Service,  of the Office of the Judge Advocate General at Fort George Meade, MD, is handling the matter and says it does not recognize emotional damages from the loss of a pet cat’s life.

Mr. Engel says he still has the utmost regard for the former Armament base commander Brig. Gen. William N. Phillips, who headed the test facility at the time of the accident, saying “I still believe in the man. I still have the utmost respect for him.” Brig. Gen. Phillips came to the Engel home to offer his condolences and support. The local base has no input in the legal matter between the Engel family and the US Army.

The points we take from this matter are that the Army only offered to compensate the Engel family for Sara’s veterinary bills, not for the loss of her life, and that it does not recognize emotional suffering from the loss of a pet; at least not at this point in the case.

The Army Times reprinted a story on the case that ran in the Parsippany Daily Record.

1 thought on “NJ family unsatisfied with Army offer in aftermath of cat’s death from errant artillery shell”

  1. what a sad thing to happen what if her daughter had been lying in bed ready? what would they have offered at that time? Isupport their negation from what the army is offering them…

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