CityMash.com - While dogs may be known as man’s best friend does that qualify them for an official spot in the family? Canadians seem to be split on the issue: should pets be considered children or property?
A recent ruling in Saskatchewan decided that according to the law, animals kept as pets should be viewed as property. The judge forced to make this ruling did so in order to settle a custody dispute between a divorcing couple over their dogs. His reasoning was that dogs are not typically treated like human children because they are bred, unlike children, and can be put down due to bad behaviour or medical illness, unlike children.
Most parents of human children can recognize the difference between a pet and a child. In support of the ruling, one blogger explained that classifying a pet differently than a child doesn’t mean you love your pet any less; you simply respect that they are an animal and you are a human. Another blogger pointed out that humans cannot parent pets in that we do not raise them to go out and live independent lives.
Despite the obvious differences between owning a pet and raising a child, science does point to a very strong relationship between pet parents and their fur babies. When dogs and their owners stare into each other’s eyes, both experience a rise in oxytocin, the hormone involved in maternal bonding. Dogs are able to feel love and affection similarly to how humans experience these emotions. And when mothers were shown photos of their pets, they had similar neural reactions as when they viewed photos of their children.
So it’s clear that a strong bond can exist between a pet and its owner. But it’s just as clear that having a human child is a very different experience than having a pet. So if you had to decide, would you classify pets as children or property?