A judge from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan made the unseemly comparison in his fifteen-page decision during a court hearing a few months ago.
A couple sought judiciary help in their battle for custody of their beloved dogs Kenya and Willow early last year. The wife wanted the case to be handled as a child custody dispute and offer her ex-husband restricted visitation rights.
Judge Richard Danyliuk denied the couple’s request stating that dogs are a property at law and thus should not enjoy familial rights.
Danyliuk made his opinion on the matter very clear by saying that such proceedings were a wasteful and demeaning use of court time that should be discouraged.
The judge explained his stance by first comparing dogs with children then drawing a comparison between our beloved pets and butter knives.
According to Danyliuk, dogs cannot be considered like children because they are bred to ensure good bloodlines, are subject to a cost/benefit analysis when gravely sick and are muzzled when aggressive.
The judge further illustrated the basis of his court decision by saying that it is ludicrous to file for custody rights on the grounds of deep attachment for one’s property. In his ruling decision he said:
“"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?"
Although pets are protected by law from cruelty and neglect, they are still considered property. The comparison made by the judge and the dismissal of the case proves that there is still work to be done before animals get the consideration they deserve.
What is your opinion on the matter?
Do you think custody hearings for pets are unreasonable?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
*Photo Credit: University of Liverpool Faculty of Health and Life Sciences Flickr Creative Commons 2.0