We love our pets, go the distance to protect their health, and would even risk our lives for them. Our beloved pets have licked and purred into our lives and hearts and are slowly making a place for themselves into our legal systems as

Garima Singhal and Boo

Garima Singhal and Boo

well.

Today pets have become a part of legislation and court battles and have found their own representation as well in some cases. As they become family in our home, David Grimm writes in his book Citizen Canine: Our Evolving Relationship with Cats and Dogs, “they’ve also become family in the eyes of the law.” Sadly, the reality is far from that. When talking about racticality, the law considers them nothing more than property. Hence, there ought to be a list, a manifesto of sorts that applies to all our companion animals, so that our constitution and all humans should grant our companion animals these rights, and make it a more humane, kind, generous, and happy society.

Right to be free from cruelty
No animal should be subject to cruelty in any form and this includes questionable dairy and poultry farm practices, animal testing for cosmetics and scientific research, use of animals in zoos and circuses and in any form where animals are abused.

Right to be rescued in a natural disaster
Animals are usually left behind in the case of earthquake, Tsunami, landslide, or any other natural disaster. But they deserve to be rescued as well.

Right to have their interest considered in a courtroom They can’t speak for themselves which makes it all the more imperative that they deserve representation too.

Right to clean food and water
No animal should have to eat old, rotten leftovers, and drink unclean, algae infested water. They should all have right to fresh, clean food and water.

Right to shelter against the elements
Relegating a pet to an open yard outside, to fend for themselves in harsh sun, biting cold, or lashing rains should be a punishable offense. And right to shelter should be a pet’s fundamental right.

Right to exercise
A well exercised Fido is a happy, healthy Fido.

Right to be with a family
Pets thrive in the company of their family whereas, when left alone in balconies orbackyards, they lose the will to live and become depressed. There should be laws against people who leave their pets alone in inhumane conditions.

Right to love and affection
A strong family bond is the one in which your pet integrates in seamlessly. They should be close knit part of their families and should receive abundant time, love, affection and attention.

Right to regular vet visits
To keep their health on an upswing all the time and to keep them active and healthy even in old age, regular vet visits are a must. A regular vet schedule and calendar record maintenance to take care of pet’s health should be maintained.

Rights to regular grooming
Most vet clinics offer grooming services; you can take them to a pet spa, or best do it yourself. Regular baths, flea and tick checks, ear cleaning, nail clipping, and brushing are mandatory to keep their skin and feet healthy.

Right to be considered a sentient being
If there is loss of an animal, the pet parents are now able to sue for mental suffering and loss of companionship, which traditionally only applied to other humans. A dog is said to have feelings and intelligence of what is considered a 4-5 years old child. To not consider them a sentient being is an insult to what they bring to our lives and their contribution in the enrichment of our lives. They are truly man’s best friends. (Garima Singhal is a behaviourist, neurobiologist, school teacher and a long-term pet parent of her pooch Dobie).