In 2011, Bob and Elizabeth Monyak took their dogs, Lola and Callie, to an Atlanta pet kennel. During the dogs’ stay, kennel staff mixed up the animals’ medications, which landed Lola in the hospital with acute kidney failure. She died nine months later.
The Monyaks sued, but under the law, dogs are considered property, and the kennel claimed that Lola had “no fair market value” because she was a rescue dog that was adopted for free. The Monyaks’ case eventually made its way to the state Supreme Court, and this month, in a unanimous decision, the court ruled that a jury can decide the monetary value of a pet — not the market.
据法律仍然，狗是财产，使他们没有与家具或家中的其他物品不同。然而，专家表示，像蒙亚克案件中的决定正在改变这一点。毕竟，这肯定不是第一次a court weighed a dog’s value以及它的生命权。当德克萨斯犬在2012年被错误地安乐死时，第二届堡垒的上诉法院统治“男子最好的朋友的特殊价值”，并有效地给予狗通过承认宠物不仅仅是财产而增加法律地位。
Rulings like this seem to reflect our sentiment. According to a Harris poll, 95 percent of Americans consider their pets to be members of the family. Nearly half of those polled purchase birthday presents for their pets, and three in 10 frequently cook for the animals that share their homes just like they do for family.
But it’s not just our affection for man’s best friend that’s led to companion animals’ growing legal recognition. In recent years, research has revealed dogs aren’t that different from us. They not only have the capacity for emotion, but they also have the ability to读我们的情绪。
“Science has demonstrated that the mind of a dog is roughly equivalent to that of a human child two to three years of age,” writes dog expert and neuropsychological researcher Stanley Coren. “Like a toddler, the dog has all of the basic emotions: fear, anger, joy, disgust, surprise and love.”
Even Pope Francis has weighed in on the sentience of animals like dogs, noting “every act of cruelty towards any creature is contrary to human dignity” and that one day we will see animals in heaven because “paradise is open to all of God’s creatures."
What if man’s best friend had the same rights as man?
它对兽医的人有用我们对孩子们享受宠物。After all, if you think of your dog as a member of the family, you’re likely willing to spend a great deal of money to keep that family member healthy.
“The veterinarians are in a very tricky situation,” Grimm said. “They benefit when we consider our pets members of the family, but they are also starting to see the other side of that, too. When we view our pets like children, we sue like they are children when things go wrong.”
There are also concerns that by recognizing pets as humans under the law, pet owners themselves could lose rights. Critics say granting animals such legal status could lead to arguments that dogs can’t be spayed or neutered against their will, for example. Other say that taking such a step could spawn a great deal of frivolous and expensive litigation, as well as a slippery slope that could lead to the end of hunting and breeding.
“As farfetched as some of this stuff may sound, we're on this dramatic trajectory, and it's really unclear where we're going,” Grimm said. “There are a lot of unintended consequences to treating pets as people.”