Animals as Family Members

I stumbled upon an article this week about a judge’s ruling in a divorce case in which the defendants fought over custody of their dog.

The judge decried the whole matter saying it was an outrageous loss of judicial resources. His exact words were that it was “wasteful” and “demeaning” to bring such a dispute to court.

The court ruled in short that:

Dogs are property and not family; thus fighting over visitation rights is pointless. 

Dogs were relegated to the same status as butter knives in a divorcing couple’s drawer.

The scary thing is I didn’t make this up. The judge actually used the butter knives example in his 15 pages decision ruling.

“Am I to make an order that one party have interim possession of [for example] the family butter knives but, due to a deep attachment to both butter and those knives, order that the other party have limited access to those knives for 1.5 hours per week to butter his or her toast?”

The whole thing is grossing me out so much that I’ve been thinking about it all day.

The “dogs are wonderful creatures but it’s still just a dog” saying rings true to so many people. You’ll see if you scroll down the comments.

It seems like even the most esteemed animals can’t catch a break.

If pets are on the same level as kitchen utensils, merely cared for out of sentimentality and practicality, I don’t know how all other animals ever stand a chance.

The truth is and I’m sure a lot of people can relate, the animals that we share our existence with are not inanimate objects. Sure we care deeply for them but not because of everything they add to our life. (Although the cuddles are always nice)

But because of the relationship we form with them.

You can’t interact with your possessions. And no Siri doesn’t count.

A lot of people say animals are our friends.

But to me, animals can and are family.

What do you think?

I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments.


*Photo Credit: University of Liverpool Faculty of Health and Life Sciences flickr Creative Commons 2.0


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