MSN Money has a great article on how the current state of the law may be changing when it comes to courts' treatment of damages in cases involving companion animals. It's common knowledge in the animal law community that courts are predisposed toward treating animals as just another piece of property in negligence cases where companion animals are injured or killed. The article mentions an insulting award of $1 from a Massachusetts court where a couples' beloved sheep were killed by a neighbors' dogs. However, the trend may be moving toward more realistic non-economic damages in these cases.
While it is worth checking out in it's entirety, the article mentions renowned Washington animal law attorney Adam Karp, who has filed wrongful death claims for the caretakers of companion animals. Karp points out the fallacy in the current "property" jurisprudence: "Truly, I do believe it is wrongful death. . . . It's not just semantics. I wouldn't say 'wrongful death' (regarding) my toaster because it was never alive, and my animal was."