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Pets are Becoming People Too—Under the Law

In many of California’s largest cities, pets are replacing people.  In a recent article, “San Francisco Asks: Where Have All the Children Gone?,” the New York Timesreports that the City by the Bay has the lowest percentage of children of any of the largest 100 cities in America. The article introduces a young San Francisco couple: “in a compact studio apartment on the fringes of the Castro district where a young couple live with their demanding 7-year-old whom they dote on and take everywhere: a Scottish terrier named Olive.” Last year the percentage of children in San Francisco fell to 13 percent—even lower than New York City with 21 percent.

For an increasing number of couples, pets have moved in to take the place of the children they have chosen not to have. Pampered pets are achieving ever greater status—and protections. California is just the most recent state to provide legal protections to pets involved in divorce custody cases by allowing courts to decide their “best interests.” Pets can even have their own court-appointed attorneys.

According to research at Michigan State University’s College of Law, 32 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation that includes provisions for pets in protective orders in domestic violence cases. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, which just released its 12th annual report ranking the strength of each state’s animal protection laws, reveals that more states are granting legal protections to pets.

Read more at Crisis Magazine. 

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