Veterinarian Dr. Kenneth Newman (right) of St. Petersburg, Florida has proposed a piece of legislation that would change the way the law regards animals. Gracie’s Law would recognize the emotional bond between animals and people by entitling the owner of an animal killed through an act of malice or negligence to $25,000 in damages.

Current laws mean people are entitled to no more than the replacement value of their animals. No law takes into consideration the grief, pain and loss suffered by those who lose a beloved companion.

Cases involving the bond between pets and people are showing up more often in the courts, Dr. Newman says. For example, this past April, a Denver judge awarded Robin Lohre $65,000 for the death of her dog, Ruthie. Lohre had accused Posh Maids cleaning service of negligence for allowing the dog to get outside, where she was hit by a car. Dr. Newman notes this sets a new precedent for pet value, but cautions that such uncapped awards may threaten affordable veterinary care. To read more about the proposed law, visit