Pets cannot be included in water lawsuit

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A local law firm is working to get money for families in southern El Paso County. Chemicals were found in the water there nearly two years ago.

Since then, many have been wondering if their sick pets can be included in the legal action.

McDivitt Law Firm, who partnered with a firm out of New York, Napoli Shkolnik, pets cannot be included in the lawsuit. It's because of a law in Colorado that considers pets as property.

"Pets cannot be included in the lawsuit, which is unfortunate because pets are really part of the family. They are our kids and we really have great empathy for everyone and southern El Paso County who are in this condition," said Mike McDivitt with the law firm.

More than 500 people have reached out to the law firm asking if their pets can be included saying like the owners, they've also developed medical conditions including cancer.

The chemicals, known as perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, were used in firefighting foam at Peterson Air Force Base. The foam was believed to have traveled into the water supply in Security, Widefield and Fountain.

About 7,000 people have signed up for the case so far. If any resident affected by the water still needs to sign up, the law firm says they have a limited time to do so.

“In Colorado, there is a two-year statute in which to file claims for injuries that people receive as a result of somebody else’s negligence,” said McDivitt.

For the suit, it's twofold. One is a class action that seeks to compensate people for medical monitoring. The other part is for people who have already developed health problems.

“It’s like a ticking time bomb," said McDivitt. "All these residents, even those who don’t right now have cancers, or having to live with the knowledge that they have a ticking time bomb in their body and that’s what we are trying to get compensation for.”

While the law firm wants the community to understand they're doing all they can to help residents, McDivitt says it could be years before people see an end to this case with possible compensation.