Pets made legal family members in Colombia, should America follow suit?

(WSAV) – Our pets are a part of the family, and in countries like Colombia and Spain, your pet could legally be considered a family member.

The law in Colombia was drawn up following a divorce dispute where the former husband Jader Alexis Castano sued his former wife Lina Maria Ochoa for not allowing him to visit their dog, Simona, The Washington Post reports.

He cited that Simona, considered a sentient being in the country, was also affected by the divorce, showing signs of stress.

The Bogota Supreme Court ruled that Simona is a member of the “multispecies” family allowing for scheduled visits, according to the paper.

Legal protections for animals as sentient beings are not uncommon in countries in Latin America and Europe, with Spain, Colombia and Peru leading the charge.

In America, animals are regarded as property and have no legal rights of their own, but animal cruelty laws do protect companion animals, dogs and cats from abuse.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund ranked all of the states on their animal protection laws, with Georgia falling short in the bottom tier at number 40.

They cite the reasoning as Georgia does not have strict enough laws regarding puppy mills, with three puppy mills in Georgia landing a spot on The Human Society’s Horrible Hundred list.

A 2018 study found that 95% of Americans already consider their pets as a part of the family. Should there be legal protections as such?

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