Tennessee Senator Steven Cohen initiated a change in state law, which in its original form was called the “T-Bo Act” (§ 44-17-403). “T-Bo” was the name of the senator’s dog, who had been attacked and killed by another dog. With this statute, Tennessee became the first state to codify the right to recover damages for loss of companionship for tortious harm to a companion animal.
Death of pet caused by negligent act of another – Damages
(a)(1) If a person’s pet is killed or sustains injuries which 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 $5000 in noneconomic damages…
(d) Limits for noneconomic damages set out… shall be limited to compensation for the loss of the reasonably expected society, companionship, love and affection of the pet. 
The Tennessee law, before this statute, limited damages to the fair market value of an animal; there was no recourse, nothing acknowledging the emotional component of the human-companion animal relationship. In seeking to change the law with this statute, ultimately what the senator was seeking was the recognition of the special nature of a relationship with one’s companion animal; also, in doing so, the law would implicitly distinguish companion animals from other personal property or chattel. The senator clearly had a personal, emotional stake in pursuing this change in the law, having suffered the loss of a companion animal through tortuous injury first hand. Although he could not gain financially from this bill, this “win” had an intrinsic reward for him. Finally, should the senator ever have another dog and similar tragic events occur, he will have the ability to seek damages that reflect not only the physical loss (traditionally, damages based on “fair market value” or “replacement value”) but also take into account the emotional loss.
Those benefiting from this statute are the citizens of Tennessee that have companion animals, specifically those who have companion animals killed by another. In this way, however his motives may have been driven by personal experience and emotions, Senator Cohen did provide a benefit to a large group of his own constituents. In addition, the act, as the first of its kind, created a ripple effect in other states. In 2002, an Oregon jury awarded $136,000 to a family that lost four dogs when a neighbor intentionally poisoned them; in a 2007 Chicago case, the city paid $27,500 to a plaintiff whose dog had been shot by a police officer running through the plaintiff’s yard while in pursuit of a suspect; in 2008, three men were ordered to pay $30,000 after killing a Chihuahua. By inspiring other states to adopt similar statutes, and inspiring courts to make these kinds of decisions, the actions of Senator Cohen benefit the citizens of other jurisdictions beyond Tennessee’s borders. On a broader level, the enactment of the T-Bo Act has fueled the fire of the animal rights movement and often is cited in subsequent legal arguments against the current property status of animals. People look back at this pioneering state law as one of the landmark cases illustrating the trend in modern-day courts towards recognizing that animals are substantively different from a person’s car or even an irreplaceable family heirloom. By expanding the possible damages for a lost companion animal to include a consideration of loss of companionship and affection, Senator Cohen’s T-Bo Act opened a new door for animal guardians and animals alike.
 Animal Law, Cases and Materials. Waisman, Frasch, and Wagman, ed. Carolina Academic Press, 2006. p. 77
 “Why Is a Dead Chihuahua Worth 30K?” Peter Lewis. MSN Money. January 26, 2009.