We cannot put a price on our family members. We wouldn’t do it for our human relatives, so why do it for our adopted furry companions? Unfortunately, that is the case in the United States, where pets are considered property. This means they do not have certain protections or rights that they should have as sentient, loving beings who deserve safety and protection. Their lack of protection means that when they are abused or stolen, the attackers or perpetrators are usually not punished accordingly.
Recently, on June 5th, beloved family cat, Jack was stolen from his home. A video shows two teens sneaking up to the cat’s family porch in Vancouver, WA. They appear to be luring the cat with treats until they manage to grab him and take him.
Jack’s family is understandably devastated. Many people, the founder of I Paw’d It Forward are working hard to reunite this poor cat with his loving family. The teens in the video have been identified, but say they let the cat go at a different location and do not know where he is. They may be charged with misdemeanor theft and trespassing.
Jack’s disappearance highlights the issue of pet theft in this country. When a pet is stolen, this is a family member being taken from his/her home. However, the theft is usually treated as a misdemeanor because the level of theft depends on the market value of the animal. That means that if Jack was adopted for $50, that would be his market value and it would only equal misdemeanor theft rather than a felony.
Pets are not property. They are family and their lives should be taken much more seriously than this. In Oregon, animals have “special value,” which means they are included in the felony theft property law. This is a good start because at least the theft is considered a serious felony. However, animals should not be classified as property.
If you agree that pet theft should be treated much more seriously and the lives of our furry companions are worth more than property, sign this petition urging state legislators to give pets more ‘value’ than that. You can also directly contact your state legislators and demand change!
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