This article examines the current tort doctrine that values companion animals only at fair market value, which is minimal for most pets. The author argues that this rule severely undercompensates most plaintiffs whose companion animals are destroyed through another's negligent or intentional act. Pet owners typically keep companion animals for relational, not economic, purposes. As a result, the formulation for tort damages should reflect the true worth of these creatures in our lives. The author proposes a damages scheme for plaintiffs under which they could recover the replacement cost of their deceased companion animal plus a limited amount of damages for emotional distress and lost society.
Margit Livingston, The Calculus of Animal Valuation: Crafting a Viable Remedy, 82 Neb. L. Rev. 783, 848 (2004)