Did you know that under the law pets are seen as replaceable property? That’s right, the law essentially treats losing a pet the same way as losing a table. In honor of Chloe the Mini Frenchie, Loni Edwards’ beloved dog who passed away due to medical error, PetInsider will be featuring a story every Wednesday about pets being family, not property. Please join us by reading the stories and signing the pledge we created with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to push for change.
Sproutie may be a five-pound runt, but he has more personality than most people I’ve met. He is cerebral, cautious, yet brave. He is curious and makes eye contact with strangers in a way I’ve never seen in another dog. He bounces proudly when he knows he did something right. And when he steals the toilet paper roll off the hook and comes running into the room, a trail of white flapping behind him, I know he’s telling me he feels ignored.
He is also loving and loyal. He looks up at me with endlessly deep eyes and tenderly wags his little tail when he realizes I’m reaching down to pick him up. Sometimes he snuggles in so close I think he’d burrow into me if he could. His other love is a tiny tennis ball, and many nights he’ll bring it to bed, tucking it carefully under his chin as he drifts off to sleep.
He cares for me as much as I care for him. I think Sprout knows that, before I got him, my anxiety grew so bad I started scratching myself severely, as now when I start getting anxious he’ll just rest his chin in the palm of my hand as though he’s making I keep it still. And I’ve learned to take his velvety soft ear into my other hand, running my fingers over it until I feel calmer. I find strength in knowing that no matter what happens I have a reason to smile, to wake up and to come home. He is my world, my little “eggy muffin”.
Sproutie is so many things, the least of which is property. Yet, the law only recognizes him as such. If anything were to happen to him, my only recourse would be to be compensated for his replacement value. But there is nothing else in this world like him. He is not replaceable.
We were faced with the harsh reality of our laws’ treatment of pets when our friend Chloe the Mini Frenchie was killed due to a careless, avoidable medical error. The legal limits on liability result in an inadequate standard of care. While I’d like to think everyone is motivated by doing the right thing, we live in a world influenced by unspoken cost-benefit analyses—when pets are treated as property worth only their replacement value, it is cheaper for a business to deal with the consequences of a death than to spend the time and money to take steps to avoid death in the first instance.
Our hearts broke when we learned that Loni had lost her best friend, her world, and it still makes me shudder to think of how I would feel if something ever happened to Sprout. In honor of our friend Chloe, we want to help make a difference and raise awareness. Our pets are not property, and anyone who has looked into those endlessly deep eyes of their pet knows they deserve better than this.
Please join us in pushing for much needed change by signing and sharing the pledge (https://aldf.org/animalsnotproperty). Follow along every Wednesday for a new story, and sign up for our newsletter to receive it in your inbox.