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Lions and Tigers and Bears....Oh My!

According to Forbes*, in 2023, 86.9 million US homes are blessed with a pet. Forbes further conveys that in order of preference, dogs, cats and fish are the most common household pets. While pets serve many purposes for owners such as companionship and emotional and physical support, one thing is certain……..virtually all owners consider their pets a beloved member of the family. Curiously, the law views these furry family members as property in New York State. Despite this characterization, the law has evolved to recognize our pets as property with sentimental value and significant and distinct importance. In doing so, the law has also expanded its protections in connection with the safety and welfare of our pets, as well as our rights and protections in connection with their ownership. In connection with animal-related laws, most individuals are more acquainted with the horrors of animal cruelty and neglect, which we see way too often in the news. While those cases fall within the purview of the criminal courts, there are numerous other animal-related issues that arise in our civil courts. Just as pets pervade our hearts, legal issues involving animals can be identified in multiple areas of the law, including but not limited to: Landlord-tenant disputes; Trust and estates; Matrimonial and family law; Vet malpractice; Groomer negligence: Airline negligence; Contract law; Title and Ownership (replevin, etc); Labor and employment law. While individuals do not relish being involved in any type of legal drama, it should be comforting to know that the law provides for redress in connection with legal issues involving our pets, and that the law is expanding in connection with these issues.


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