Many pets owners treat their animals as if they were children, humanizing their pets with high-quality pet food, the best in day care, frequent grooming, birthday presents and lap rides when they drive their car.
But a Canadian judge ruled in a divorce case that for legal purposes “a dog is a dog. At law it is property, a domesticated animal that is owned. At law it enjoys no familial rights.”
The wife in the case wanted to keep two of the couple’s dogs and offered visitation rights to her husband. But judge Richard Danyliuk rejected it, pointing out several ways in which dogs are different than human offspring, according to CBC.
That might come as news to many Americans. A 2015 Harris poll found that 95 percent of U.S. dog and cat owners consider their pet to be a part of the family. Pet custody battles are becoming more common, according to DadsDivorce.com.
Pets are not children, writes New York Magazine. Slate writes it’s perfectly normal to think of pets as children.
In the Canadian case, the judge showed fondness for animals at several points in his ruling. “Dogs are wonderful creatures,” he wrote, according to CBC.
In writing about the couple’s third, older and ill dog, the judge wrote: “It is one of life’s cruel twists that dogs are such noble beings yet enjoy such a short life span.”