4/3/07 – If any one of us were to be poisoned by tainted food, our loved ones could probably get some compensation should we die as a result. Some animal lovers are wondering if the same applies to the family pet, especially in light of the contaminated pet food that has already killed dozens of dogs and cats.
Several states have laws that define Fido & Fefe as personal property and NOT your next of kin. In the eyes of the law, they are considered no different really than a stereo or a sports car.
Some people are trying to change that, arguing that pets can become true extensions of a family unit. Getting a basic reimbursement for vet bills, pet food, and any burial costs is just not acceptable for many. They want compensation for emotional distress, and slowly, some courts are granting it.
Jon Katz has authored books on the changing relationship between dogs and people. He professes that it is the changing nature of how we relate to our pets over the last couple of decades that has led us to this elevated treatment of household animals.
Don’t get me wrong. I like all of our pets, from our
This brings me to a story in the news of an elderly couple that committed suicide in
Do you think your grandparents called their pets their children? Do you think most of them SLEPT and ATE and WORKED and PLAYED with their dog or cat 24/7 the way many people do today? Nope. They were pets, loyal and lovable. But PETS nonetheless.
This is where we went wrong. Restaurants for dogs, Bed & Breakfasts for cats, day care for the Cockatiel. We once acquired pets for companionship, service, and protection. Now we acquire them to be our psuedo-spouses and children.
My words of advice: Be gentle and protective and loyal to your pets. But if you ever start thinking that the ownership of an animal is the same, or even CLOSE to being the same, as parenting a child…maybe it’s time to give the birds and the bees a try and have a child of your own. Maybe then you will truly understand unconditional love, and unconditional grieving as well, and not just think that you do.