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Pets, Family or Property?

Do they deserve more legal rights?

Recently in the news, a woman who passed away had it in her will that her dog was to be euthanized, cremated, and buried with her. I’m sure she loved that dog as if they were a family member, but when the kennel tried to save the dog, the court ruled the pet as property, and the family went through with her request.

My heart broke for the dog in the story, and made me think about my relationship with my dogs. I don’t think I could ever make that decision to euthanize them for selfish reasons. I have money willed to my dogs for their care, and I know who is to care for them (with their permission).

Working Dogs

Many people use dogs for security or protection. We have dogs who work in law enforcement, drug searching, recovery, and service dogs. How do you view a working animal? Put yourself in any of the above situations. If the animal were injured or killed while “working,” would you show emotion? Or would you be able to move on to the next animal as if it were just another employee? I understand that not all working dogs would be considered “property,” but I have seen cases where the dogs only interaction with a person is to feed it.


Many people have pets who live in their home, and become a huge part of their lives. They take care of them, talk to them, and even dress them. These people, myself included, think of them as family members. I think in many ways I’m more protective with my dogs than I am myself or family members. They have an education, great healthcare, a comfortable home, healthy meals, and playtime any time they want it. More people are traveling with their pets than ever before. Hotels, airlines, trains, and many stores now accommodate pets. Even if they don’t travel with us, we pay for someone to care for them at home, and many kennels are more like resorts that cater to the comfort of our furry family members.

Protection and laws

Recently California passed a law that pets can be treated like family when it comes to separation and divorce, by deciding the best place for a pet to reside based on the best interests of the pet, similar to how they consider the wellbeing of a child.

Sadly animal rights are rarely protected or considered for the rights, or best interests of the animal. The courts protect children, because they can’t make the legal decision on their own. Why can’t they make the same consideration for our pets that love us unconditionally.

There are great groups like the ASPCA, In The Defense of Animals, PETA and many more. Should these groups be fighting for legislation to get more protections for pets to be treated as family when it comes to the law?

How would you like to see happen? Would you like more protections for pets as family members? If so how do you separate them from animals who perform a job? What rights do they have?   

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Pets, Family or Property?
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