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What Do Dogs, Cats, Cars and Chairs Have in Common?

© Can Stock Photo/gurinaleksandr

Currently, in legal terms, pets are considered to be property and are therefore no different to a car, rug, couch or bookcase, although, in some areas, provisions are starting to be made to acknowledge pets as sentient, living beings who have their own individual preferences, biological needs, and rights

With U.S. consumers spending $69.51 billion on the pet industry in 2017 and expenditure

projected to increase to $72.13 billion U.S. dollars last year, Susan Nilson and Niki Tudge

debate whether pets should still be considered property in the eyes of the law, given that

I

increasing numbers of pet guardians now consider their pets to be part of the family n the preface of his book, Animal Law, Favre (2011) speaks to a picture of his cat: “Moppet is a being, a being who lives with me. She is alive. Look into her eyes; she is aware, aware of me but perhaps not self-aware...To touch her is to feel like you are touching a cloud...Her Spirit is positive and engaging.” Moppet, apparently, likes human companionship and knows “who the members are of our multispecies family.” In fact, according to The Harris Poll (2015), “nearly all pet owners (95%)…consider their pets to be members of the family.” Yet, legally, pets are still considered property or chattel. “Technically in the eyes of the law, [cats and dogs] are no different from a couch or a car.” (Grimm, 2014). The terms “property” and “chattel” may be defined as follows: 1. Property: Anything that is owned by a person or entity. Prop16

BARKS from the Guild/March 2019

erty is divided into two types: "real property," which is any interest in land, real estate, growing plants or the improvements on it, and "personal property," sometimes called "personality," which encompasses everything else. (The Free Dictionary, 2018). 2. Chattel: An item of personal property which is movable, as distinguished from real property (land and improvements). (The Free Dictionary, 2018).

Are Pets Family?

Favre (2011) believes people need to reflect more on where pets fall in the world of moral and legal obligations, as well as how they deal with pets as family members in terms of their legal status and our own legal responsibility towards them. Historically, in common law, personal pets were considered separately from the domestic vs. wild classification of

Profile for The Pet Professional Guild

BARKS from the Guild March 2019  

BARKS from the Guild is the bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, p...

BARKS from the Guild March 2019  

BARKS from the Guild is the bi-monthly trade publication from the Pet Professional Guild covering all things animal behavior and training, p...