No, Your Dog isn’t Part of Your Family

Title Slide for Article Your Dog Isn't Part of your family

When you look at your pet, what do you think? “That fluffy animal is so cute,” or do you think, “my furry child is adorable?” I think most of us see our animals as our four-legged children. I personally buy clothing for my cat, Stewie, and my dad sends me pictures of him with the caption “Happy Mother’s Day” on the second Sunday of May every year.

Stewie all dressed up

Just this past summer I made a paw print cake and had a party for my cousin’s Vizsla, Kailey on her birthday. She even wore a party hat.

Viszla with hat on for birthday party
Kailey on her birthday

According to The Sacramento Bee, a judge in Canada seems to view pets differently. “A dog is a dog,” he said as he refused to treat dogs as children in a divorce case. Judge Richard Danyliuk explained that by law, an animal is considered property and a “domesticated animal that is owned” has “no familial rights.”

The wife in the divorce case wanted to keep full custody of the soon to be ex-couple’s dogs and even offered her husband visitation rights. Unfortunately judge Danyliuk didn’t agree with the request and rejected it. He then proceeded to explain how animal children are not the same as human children.

The judge wrote a statement about the couple’s oldest and ill dog: “It is one of life’s cruel twists that dogs are such noble beings yet enjoy such a short life span.” The judge must clearly be a dog lover – why else would he call them “noble beings”?  Unfortunately, he wasn’t willing to change how the laws view dogs within a family.

Yet none of this is stopping people from treating their pets more and more like humans.  The Harris Poll pointed out that 45 percent of American pet owners bought presents for their pets and that 95 percent of U.S. dog and cat owners consider their pet to be part of the family.

An article from Huffington Post mentions that there are a few state legislators floating the idea of changing the law to require consideration of pets’ best interests when determining custody. One solution that legislators are suggesting is a “love contract.”  Apparently this love contract idea is “an evolved variation of pre-nuptial, post-nuptial or cohabitation Agreement that deals with any relationship issues beyond splitting property upon a breakup.”

The U.S. seems to be on the right track to fix this, maybe it’ll reach Canada and judge Danyliuk will start to think differently!

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