This Tennessee statute provides that a pet owner may seek non-economic damages up to $5,000 for the death of his or her pet against the person who is liable for causing the death or injuries that led to the animal's death. The person causing the pet's death must have done so intentionally or, if negligently, the incident must have occurred either on the owner or pet caretaker's property or while in the control and supervision of the caretaker. These damages are not for the intentional infliction of emotional distress of the owner or other civil claim, but rather for the direct loss of "reasonably expected society, companionship, love and affection of the pet."
(a)(1) If a person's pet is killed or sustains injuries that result in death caused by the unlawful and intentional, or negligent, act of another or the animal of another, the trier of fact may find the individual causing the death or the owner of the animal causing the death liable for up to five thousand dollars ($5,000) in noneconomic damages; provided, that if the death is caused by the negligent act of another, the death or fatal injury must occur on the property of the deceased pet's owner or caretaker, or while under the control and supervision of the deceased pet's owner or caretaker.
(2) If an unlawful act resulted in the death or permanent disability of a person's guide dog, then the value of the guide dog shall include, but shall not necessarily be limited to, both the cost of the guide dog as well as the cost of any specialized training the guide dog received.
(b) As used in this section, “pet” means any domesticated dog or cat normally maintained in or near the household of its owner.
(c) Limits for noneconomic damages set out in subsection (a) shall not apply to causes of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress or any other civil action other than the direct and sole loss of a pet.
(d) Noneconomic damages awarded pursuant to this section shall be limited to compensation for the loss of the reasonably expected society, companionship, love and affection of the pet.
(e) This section shall not apply to any not-for-profit entity or governmental agency, or its employees, negligently causing the death of a pet while acting on the behalf of public health or animal welfare; to any killing of a dog that has been or was killing or worrying livestock as in § 44-17-203; nor shall this section be construed to authorize any award of noneconomic damages in an action for professional negligence against a licensed veterinarian.
2000 Pub.Acts, c. 762, § 1; 2004 Pub.Acts, c. 940, § 4, eff. June 15, 2004; 2004 Pub.Acts, c. 957, §§ 5 to 7, eff. June 15, 2004.