Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

Pets and Property rights

Esaunders
March 11th, 2008, 09:30 AM
Hi all,

It seems lately that the isea of viewing pets as property has seriously fallen out of favor, to the point that many are interested in altering legislation so that pets and other animals are not treated as property. I was wondering why? It seems to me that property rights, in many ways, are our best way to protect our pets.

Anyone care to tackle the question? This one could get a little heated.

Love4himies
March 11th, 2008, 09:50 AM
Not sure if I am on topic, but my feeling is that laws should be changed as societies change. People in North America in the last 50 years have changed from a "pet is just a pet" feelings to pets are loved and cared for as part of a family, and our laws should be based upon that belief (abuse/neglect), including banning puppy/kitten mills.

I do not believe that dogs/cats have the right to disrupt others by barking, running free in parks, meowing/screeching at night. The fact remains that some people think their dog has a "right" to run free in the park and distrupting others on their walk, and their cat has a "right" to fight at night waking neighbours up and allow their pets to be distruptive. I do believe that all pets have a "right" to a life free of abuse and neglect.

I am not familiar with the law to say what type of laws are better:shrug:, if pets are not property, what are they?.

clm
March 11th, 2008, 10:05 AM
They should be treated as Property but in the case of pets, the property itself should have rights.
If the owner abuses that properties rights, then the property is revolked from the owner and penalties for abusing said property should reflect the fact that the property is a living being not an inanimate object.
That's what I think.

Cindy

danaekitty
March 11th, 2008, 10:12 AM
Not sure if I am on topic, but my feeling is that laws should be changed as societies change.
...if pets are not property, what are they?.

I agree with this. It's a hard situation, because technically, they are our possessions. We pick them out carefully and choose to take them the way we would a TV or couch, something that affects our daily lives. The fact that they are living and breathing makes it pretty hard to see them as such, but that's the way it is.
I also am not extremely familiar with property laws and such, but I'm pretty sure my cats are covered under my renter's insurance, same as my computer and camera.
That said, I love my cats obviously more than my tv or computer, but I am still technically their "owner", not their "mother" because of the way I aquired them. I'm sure if I'd given birth to them they would fall under different laws.

About L4H's quote above, maybe if "society" learns not to inbreed dogs, or raise them to be violent (I am following the school of Blame The Owner Not The Breed here), then "society" will drop the laws pertaining to these animals.
Of course, society has adapted some, by giving us offleash parks, no? Where they DO in fact have a right to run offleash, thus the name. It's up to the "owner" to make sure their dogs treat it accordingly, no?

As for the cats getting out at night and yowling/fighting... all wild animals do this through instinct, or nature, or whathaveyou. So it would be silly to have a law against that.

danaekitty
March 11th, 2008, 10:12 AM
They should be treated as Property but in the case of pets, the property itself should have rights.
If the owner abuses that properties rights, then the property is revolked from the owner and penalties for abusing said property should reflect the fact that the property is a living being not an inanimate object.
That's what I think.

Cindy

Well said.

Esaunders
March 11th, 2008, 10:40 AM
They should be treated as Property but in the case of pets, the property itself should have rights.
If the owner abuses that properties rights, then the property is revolked from the owner and penalties for abusing said property should reflect the fact that the property is a living being not an inanimate object.
That's what I think.

Cindy

This is part of what scares me, deeply. What is abuse? What is cruelty? In who's eyes?

These words are tossed around very lightly nowadays. One poster recently spoke of going to the SPCA cruelty investigator for a 100 % legal veterinary procedure. I saw a news report today of a woman being charged with animal cruelty for dying her poodle pink. There are laws going into effect in major US cities forcing mandatory pediatric spay/neuter and alot more that are up for approval.

The words cruelty and abuse are often used interchangably for "I don't like/agree with this" It scares the wits out of me when this is combined with the concept of pet rights and the law. If my pet has rights, someone else gains a say in what is right/wrong for my dog. If we give our pets 'rights' what do we give up in our ability to care for and protect them?

Frenchy
March 11th, 2008, 11:08 AM
I'll bet many of the dogs in puppy mills , caged from birth to death , would love to have rights. So yes , I believe animals should have rights.

danaekitty
March 11th, 2008, 11:10 AM
If my pet has rights, someone else gains a say in what is right/wrong for my dog. If we give our pets 'rights' what do we give up in our ability to care for and protect them?



WOW, Esaunders, that's a really good point, I never thought of it that way.

Living in a democracy obviously affects the way we live our lives.
I, for example, follow the rules and just live my life knowing that the government takes care of all sorts of stuff that I don't really worry about.
So if your dogs have rights and whatnot, yeah someone else has a say in what's right/wrong for your dog, but that's the same way we live as humans. We still have rights, and are expected to follow the rules as they are laid out. As long as the dog is following the rules, there shouldn't be a problem. And if there is a guideline in place for dogs, will it eventually result in fewer dogs going out to irresponsible owners? Just like the spay/neuter laws are supposed to ultimately result in fewer dogs/cats having to be put down.
And if someone else has a say in what's right/wrong for your dog, we can assume that whatever rules/rights they set for dogs would be in the best interest for the species in general, with the idea that under this set of rights, the dogs will be properly cared for.

In a perfect world, there would be fewer strays, no overpopulation, and no abuse to animals. But we can't control every person that comes into contact with an animal, we can only try to protect the animal the best we can by giving it rules and rights, and since we are the "owners" of these animals, the rules apply to us as well. IMO.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, these are really just thoughts that have come to me, I'm definitely not trying to disagree with anything here.

Love4himies
March 11th, 2008, 11:23 AM
I agree with this. It's a hard situation, because technically, they are our possessions. We pick them out carefully and choose to take them the way we would a TV or couch, something that affects our daily lives. The fact that they are living and breathing makes it pretty hard to see them as such, but that's the way it is.
I also am not extremely familiar with property laws and such, but I'm pretty sure my cats are covered under my renter's insurance, same as my computer and camera.
That said, I love my cats obviously more than my tv or computer, but I am still technically their "owner", not their "mother" because of the way I aquired them. I'm sure if I'd given birth to them they would fall under different laws.

About L4H's quote above, maybe if "society" learns not to inbreed dogs, or raise them to be violent (I am following the school of Blame The Owner Not The Breed here), then "society" will drop the laws pertaining to these animals.
Of course, society has adapted some, by giving us offleash parks, no? Where they DO in fact have a right to run offleash, thus the name. It's up to the "owner" to make sure their dogs treat it accordingly, no?

As for the cats getting out at night and yowling/fighting... all wild animals do this through instinct, or nature, or whathaveyou. So it would be silly to have a law against that.

Thank you danaekitty, you said very clearly what I wanted to say. I was thinking about off leash parks, very important for dogs to have a place to exercise, especially if it lives in a condo/apt.

As for cats getting out at night, I feel that cat owners should not allow their kitty to run free because of the instinct/nature of the cat (I think Edmonton may have a bylaw about free roaming cats, not sure). It is not fair to neighbours to be kept awake at night if cats are fighting. Also, I think I would have a very hard time forgiving myself if a cat/dog ran out in front of me when I was driving.

clm
March 11th, 2008, 11:37 AM
If the laws were ever changed, and the property is granted it's own rights, there would need to be a clear cut definition of what rights that property has and what obligations the owner of the property is responsible for.
Depending on where you reside legal vet procedures can change, local by-laws can change, provincial and federal laws are mixed in there too. It wouldn't be an easy thing to introduce, but well worth it if it's done properly.

I still think if the property is a pet, it should have rights.

You're always going to have people who abuse both sides of the law, those that abuse animals through neglect or denying medical care or physical abuse, or pit fighting, etc, and those who think the only way to keep a dog or cat is their way and they'll merrily go about reporting non issues and those who hate dogs and cats and report issues with neighbouring pets because they think no one should have them.

Cindy

Love4himies
March 11th, 2008, 11:41 AM
This is part of what scares me, deeply. What is abuse? What is cruelty? In who's eyes?

If we give our pets 'rights' what do we give up in our ability to care for and protect them?

Abuse/cruetly to me is allowing a pet to live in discomfort, whether it be hunger, cold, pain (inflicted or health (by not seeking vet care)), or mental (living in puppymill cages) and I think society is finding that it is no longer acceptable for this to happen and I wish our lawmakers would update the laws to reflect this.

Dying a dog pink is not abuse (unless the dog was hurt during the process), just senseless. Continuously walking a dog without booties on the salty streets knowing the dog's pads are cracked and bleeding is abuse.

hazelrunpack
March 11th, 2008, 11:56 AM
WI is currently in the process of considering legislation to 'curtail' puppymills. It's not an animal rights bill, but a licensing bill aimed at breeders.

The results so far are frightening. The proposed bill (which I've got a link to in my blog) won't affect the puppy millers at all--they'll simply close their facilities to visitors and continue selling to the lucrative markets on the coasts. Why would that happen? Because the bill only allows inspections if someone complains to law enforcement. Law enforcement would then investigate and if the complaint is warranted, pass the information to the state regulators. No visitors to the facility means no one to complain to law enforcement...therefore the state will never get into the facility.

The bill will result in more litters either being given away to a free home or destroyed or abandoned outright. Why? Because accidental litters often occur because of irresponsible owners. If they don't care to supervise and take responsibility for their intact dogs, will they really want to undertake the legal paperwork/health guarantees/etc that the bill requires them to? I doubt it. So, rather than sell the litter, it will be given away (often ending up bought by a puppy miller looking for future breeding stock), drowned in the nearest pond, or just abandoned along a road somewhere.

The very rules under which the animals are cared for won't even be drawn up until after the bill is passed--so state legislators don't even really know what's on the table. :shrug:

Why is this relevant to a discussion of animal rights legislation? Because, much as I am against puppy mills and the conditions found in many of them, this bill does nothing to stop them, and only hurts legitimate breeders who are already making guarantees and doing all the health checks necessary. These are all unintended consequences of the proposed bill.

And that is almost more frightening than what bothers you, Esaunders:
If my pet has rights, someone else gains a say in what is right/wrong for my dog. If we give our pets 'rights' what do we give up in our ability to care for and protect them?

Don't get me wrong--I'm all for legislation setting at least reasonable minimum standards for the care and housing of dogs. I believe that domestic animals have a right to humane treatment, and that includes psychological needs. I believe that if we, as humans, choose to keep animals, we also take on the responsibility to care for them properly.

But I'm seeing what these well-meaning legislators come up with and that is frightening. Not just their attempts to put their intentions down on paper, but the unintended things that tag along for the ride. I'm afraid of the sorts of things they'll likely come up with if they ever do consider animal rights as such.

Unfortunately, the bill currently under consideration, as are many of the bills that get passed, was proposed as a sort of knee-jerk reaction to a puppy mill expose piece run by a state TV network. We have a terrible problem here that needs attention. But legislators are not known for their researching experience or their powers of critical thinking. They have aides to do the mundane stuff; comments at public hearings are often discounted because they assume only those with an axe to grind attend (which is often true, but should not negate the objections); and the Legislative Reference Bureau, that vets the bills before they are presented, often misses unintended consequences because the lawyers are not up on the issues--they only can comment on the legalese.

shane 123
March 11th, 2008, 01:31 PM
So interesting to read everyone's different opinions on this issue. Myself, I do not want anyone telling me what I can and can't do with my animals. But I have to agree that if a law such as this was passed I would have no trouble accepting it for the reason that I treat my pets like my kids. Our dogs never roam, don't live outside, have all the food and water they need and every other non necessary benefit. The best vet care whenever needed. But I do see some dogs that are not treated like this and it's heartbreaking, so I would probably vote for such a law. Right now we have a law for cats - every single cat has to be licenced the same as dogs. If they are found straying the owner has to pay a fine to get the cat back. Unfortunately, cats are a dime a dozen so people don't licence them and they roam and end up dead on the road or in the bush. I think the issue is that caring, devoted owners feel undermined by having someone tell us what we can and can't do. I was just thinking of service dogs...they are a person's property and should have rights, but, they don't...the handler has the rights.
I'm all for a spay/neuter program if it helps dogs and cats from becoming homeless and starving. We have a program that asssists seniors and under income people by giving them a very cheap rate to have their animals done, most take advantage of this since they really can't afford the high cost but don't want a litter.
Many insurance companies now refuse to insure you if you own a dog that is on a dangerous dog list , that's their way of protecting themselves from people who are too ignorant to train their dogs, but the good owners suffer with the bad.
The answer?? I really don't know......

JanM
March 11th, 2008, 02:10 PM
Well, I may get flamed for this but I do take issue with the statement "they are our possessions" - I totally disagree. Animals are free spirits and they, along with the earth, the trees, the air we breathe do not belong to anyone.

Bobby, Amber and Shadow are sharing their lives with me as I am sharing my life with them - we all live in as much harmony as we can. They respect "my" being as I respect theirs. Responsibility goes along with all beings sharing space - whether for protection from harm, abuse, whatever.

Having said that, I also believe it is everyone's responsibility to ensure that their family - whether 4-legged or 2-legged, respect everyone else's lives too.

And now I'd better button it before I get way off topic :)

shane 123
March 11th, 2008, 02:13 PM
That was very well said Jan---I've never looked at my animals as my "possessions". They are part of our extended family and treated as such.

ancientgirl
March 11th, 2008, 02:34 PM
I think this is like a double-edged sword. On one side our pets being seen as our property gives us a certain amount of rights if they are taken from us, meaning stolen. But, I also don't like to refer to them as a possession, as if they were in the same class as my television set.

I can do whatever I want to my TV, it's mine and I paid for it, it has no rights. I'd like to think our pets have rights. As many have said,and I wholeheartedly agree, they have the right to live in homes where they are protected and cared for and above all loved. People who run puppy/kitten mills, those animals are their property. If that's the case then they really need to be specific about the law because in that situation being "property" isn't protecting the animal.

Hogansma
March 11th, 2008, 02:45 PM
I think why some people are against the law that views pets as possessions is well intended. I'm no lawyer but this is what I've heard. Legally, if I buy a $500 dog and my neighbour kills it, he legally owes me only $500 and everything is squared away. There is no consideration for it being a living soul or any investment (emotional or financial) in the pet. If the law was changed to consider pets as so much more than a possession, then the pet owner would have more legal rights. I think I also heard that a pet owner can actually legally kill his or her pet for no reason, as long as it is done humanely (no suffering). Ughhh!!!!:mad: We really need out laws changed but i don't even know where to start. Are animal rights laws a federal or provincial thing? Do we have any lawyers on this site?

danaekitty
March 11th, 2008, 02:48 PM
Alas, animals do not know their rights or even that they have them. They look to us to care for them and defend their rights. It is entirely on our shoulders, just like it is on our shoulders to keep our house clean, or pay our car insurance, or take care of other things we "own".
Having laws about this will not change the way I, as a responsible and caring pet "owner" care for my pets, because I know I always do what's in the best interest of my girls anyway.

hazelrunpack
March 11th, 2008, 08:43 PM
I agree, Danae. Having laws will not change the way caring, responsible people treat their pets. It certainly would not affect the way I spoil my babies. :D

But everyone needs to be cautious when these matters come up before any governing body. You need to pay attention and read the bills as they come up, then act accordingly. There is such a thing as bad legislation--just look at the BSLs, and the bill I'm fighting right now. If people would pay attention, read the bills, think through the intentions and consider unintended consequences, maybe there would be better laws on the books. And that would help everyone--human and animal.

shane 123
March 12th, 2008, 11:18 AM
Hogan----I don't know where in BC you live, but in our part of Canada if someone got caught killing their dog or cat (for any reason) they would be fined and banned from ever owning a pet again, some have even done jail time plus the fine. We also are not allowed to shoot our horses for any reason, we have to call a vet to determine the injuries and they put it down if deemed necessary. Or we can call the police for faster action if our horse is suffering a broken leg and they will have to come out and inspect and they will shoot it ....we just are not allowed that priviledge.
I think our laws are so strict because we have idiots who get fed up with their animal and will just shoot it for no reason. Another reasone that we have so many abandoned pets.
And if my neighbour shoots or causes death to my dog we can sue for much more than the value of the dog. We get the value, emotional suffering, punitive damages, etc. which is great by me in case someone ever deliberately killed my dogs....they would be in the poorhouse....lol.
Which means we don't get a pile of neglected starving horses like I read about in Alberta, anything like that here and the person is doomed, horses are a precious animal here as we don't have herds like out there I guess.
I think this is where we need some kind of law to protect our animals, most people wouldn't be bothered by it because of the care they give them.
Our pets are very much considered our property but we do have to do right by that property. Until there is more education about animals I think some laws are good for the animals who would otherwise suffer.

shane 123
March 12th, 2008, 11:27 AM
Sorry Hogan---Forgot to mention that out here pet laws are provincial and often run by city by-laws also...no, I'm not a lawyer........lol

Esaunders
March 13th, 2008, 08:33 AM
Here's a bill currently up for approval for the state of Ohio. Thoughts?

http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=124_HB_446

>"Ovdo opposed the following provisions in the bill:
>
>1. Reduction in the age for licensing puppies from three months to two
months.
>2. Individual licenses for every dog in the kennel, even puppies over
the
>age of two months.
>3. No puppy sales without a license.
>4. Criminal penalty for rescuing stray dogs without turning them in to
>animal control within 10 days.
>5. The provision banning transfer of vicious dogs to new owners except
>transfers to veterinarians or shelters for euthanasia. This provision
bans
>the sale of AmStaffs, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and any other
>bully-looking breed or mix regardless of the behavioral history of the
dog."

ancientgirl
March 13th, 2008, 08:48 AM
Holy cow! So according to #4 you could possibly be arrested for helping a stray dog and keeping it?

CearaQC
March 13th, 2008, 08:52 AM
There's already a social movement for this sort of thing.

http://www.guardiancampaign.com/promise.html

The Guardian Promise

I promise to:

* Make a lifetime commitment to my animal companion
* Adopt animals only through responsible rescues and ethical breeders
* Spay or neuter my animal companion for their health and to prevent overpopulation
* Provide nutritious food, fresh water and daily exercise for my animal companion
* Care for the emotional needs of my animal companion
* Understand and work through my animal companion’s behavioral issues
* Treat my animal companion with compassion and gentleness
* Report suspected animal abuse or neglect
* Call myself and others "guardians" rather than “owner”
* Encourage others to embrace guardianship

Laws are only put into place once someone screws up. And laws really don't create change. The people have to change and evolve in their thinking and behavior by choice.

Laws punish people that have been caught. And sometimes it seems to only encourage people to get creative and find new ways to prevent being caught. It does not stop the behavior itself, because it's a matter of choice.

But those of us with animal companions can act as examples to others. That alone can create change, due to the nature of humans being gregarious and having a herd mentality.

Love4himies
March 13th, 2008, 08:58 AM
Holy cow! So according to #4 you could possibly be arrested for helping a stray dog and keeping it?

And what if your area's animal control is a high kill shelter?????

I guess though it would help those who have lost an animal and had it tatooed or microchipped, or reported missing.

The other point I don't agree with is the pitbull ban.

hazelrunpack
March 13th, 2008, 09:03 AM
Here's a bill currently up for approval for the state of Ohio. Thoughts?

http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=124_HB_446



The link is to an education bill, Esaunders. Do you have a link to the dog bill? If it's as bad as your summary, it's far worse than the one up for consideration in WI. :eek:

Laws punish people that have been caught. And sometimes it seems to only encourage people to get creative and find new ways to prevent being caught. It does not stop the behavior itself, because it's a matter of choice.



Laws often punish the law-abiding citizens without affecting the problem they were intended to correct. Gun registrations, for instance, put the onus on the law-abiding citizens who are made into criminals if they don't register their guns. But gun registration requirements don't affect criminals at all, since they won't comply and are using guns illegally in the first place. Same with the bill up for consideration in WI--puppy mills will simply close their facilities to visitors and sell out-of-state to the coastal markets. It's the ethical breeders that will have to pay extra fees for licensing, absorb the extra paperwork and stretch themselves to the limit by mandated monetary guarantees. In these cases, the onus falls on the upstanding law-abiding citizens, not the ones who have done wrong. My :2cents:.

CearaQC
March 13th, 2008, 09:25 AM
Gun registrations, for instance, put the onus on the law-abiding citizens who are made into criminals if they don't register their guns.

There is a reason for that. But I won't go into that here because this is a pet forum. I try to stay on topic... but it's really difficult. I want to share what I've learned with others in order to help. If anyone is interested, they can PM me for more info.


Laws often punish the law-abiding citizens without affecting the problem they were intended to correct.

Exactly.

The Prohibition back in the 1920s is another good example. Booze was outlawed, but it didn't stop people from drinking did it? They still chose to drink and found underhanded ways of getting it, often hurting others in the process.

Plus most of the world's governments have a "do as I say and not as I do" mentality. Where something may be considered illegal for Joe Schmoe is perfectly alright for Mr Rich and Powerful Man.

Then you have politicians that don't even read the bills before they vote. Many are absent during the reading and just show up to vote later, if at all. And then head off to a fancy party and brag about how hard they work. Riiiiiight. Or worse, a bill has to be put through ultra quick and no one even has time to read it. The old film "Mr Smith Goes to Washington" is a good example of what really happens in government. Actually most of Frank Capra's movies tell the truth.

Watch it free here:

http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-897129633961255565

So for pets, laws don't work and they will probably never work. We need to do something else to help create positive change and we cannot wait for any saviour type to do the work for us. One single voice won't work either, so we need to all band together and work as a team without fighting amongst ourselves.

ancientgirl
March 13th, 2008, 09:31 AM
Hazel, I agree with you. Sometimes I think laws like this are made just to punish the people who actually abide by them.

I wonder how much thought these law makers actually put into their bills. Apparently not much. I wonder if these people even have pets!

hazelrunpack
March 13th, 2008, 09:40 AM
I can't download video, Ceara. But I've seen the chambers during all that 'deliberation' :rolleyes: Nothing like a discussion among a group of one, eh? :laughing:

Hazel, I agree with you. Sometimes I think laws like this are made just to punish the people who actually abide by them.

I wonder how much thought these law makers actually put into their bills. Apparently not much. I wonder if these people even have pets!

Which makes it very hard to get decent laws. So far all I've seen are really bad examples... :sad: And the real irony is that every one of these bills is sponsored by well-meaning people. They just don't sit down and take a critical look at what they're sponsoring. :shrug:

Love4himies
March 13th, 2008, 09:48 AM
Hazel, I agree with you. Sometimes I think laws like this are made just to punish the people who actually abide by them.

I wonder how much thought these law makers actually put into their bills. Apparently not much. I wonder if these people even have pets!

I agree, I think they make laws just so they can say they are doing something. The people making the laws, at least here in Canada, are not necessarily experts in the field, they are just elected politicians.

ancientgirl
March 13th, 2008, 09:54 AM
Which makes it very hard to get decent laws. So far all I've seen are really bad examples... :sad: And the real irony is that every one of these bills is sponsored by well-meaning people. They just don't sit down and take a critical look at what they're sponsoring. :shrug:

No, they really don't sit and think of how what they put into law will really work and how it will actually impact people and in this case, their pets and strays.

Esaunders
March 13th, 2008, 10:41 AM
Just look at these scenarios....

According to these clauses

IF strays are designated as any unwanted animal
THEN rescuers could be criminally charged for not turning in animals to shelters

IF the shelter management is not rescue friendly and will not release dogs to rescues
THEN the rescues will have to adopt the dogs out themselves ($$) & license ($$) on top of everything else IF the shelter will adopt to them

IF the rescuer rescues "AmStaffs, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and any other
bully-looking breed or mix regardless of the behavioral history of the
dog" and does not turn them in
THEN they potentially risk additional criminal charges if they do not turn the dog in as animal adoption is technically animal sale

IF the rescuer rescues "AmStaffs, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and any other
bully-looking breed or mix regardless of the behavioral history of the
dog" and DOES turn them in
THEN the dog will likely be automatically be put down

Scary scary stuff

want4rain
March 13th, 2008, 10:58 AM
wow, we have pitty specific rescues here, most of which are actually VERY good!!

-ash

Hogansma
March 14th, 2008, 11:10 PM
"4. Criminal penalty for rescuing stray dogs without turning them in to
animal control within 10 days."

Yikes!!! If that was law here, my 12 old Bailey girl who I took in last June, would have had a very uncertain future. Her owner who lived a block away, passed away. Bailey was old, needed medical attention and if she was turned into a shelter, I'm not sure but she may have been euthanized.

I also disagree with the pitbull ban. The pitties I know, are wonderful dogs. I can't imagine the world without them. They are rays of sunshine at the shelter.

I do agree with everyone that it is the owners responsibility to give a high level of care for their pets and laws will not change how good pet owners care for their pets. I think we do need law changes to punish the extreme cases. I've heard that if Michael Vick had lived in Canada and did what he did, he would not have gone to jail. Not sure how true it is but was a comment from a news report so fairly reliable, I think.