Australia is a nation of pet lovers. For most people who own a dog or a cat, their four-legged friend is a very important member of the family. After all, many people tend to live alone and have no offspring and as such view their furry companion as if they were a child. It's little wonder that emotions can run high whenever a pet is intentionally hurt by somebody else, or may be stolen. If you are unfortunate enough to have found yourself in just such a position, what can you do in order to stand up for the animal's rights?
Does the Law Support You?
The law is not very advanced in this country when it comes to this particular type of situation. There are no federal laws that cover the welfare of animals involved in these cases. Each state or territory has a certain number of laws, but they are mainly there to protect the animals from abuse by their owners. In other words, they are there to ensure that people look after them and don't subject them to unreasonable pain during the normal course of ownership. These laws will not provide legal options for an annoyed pet owner, whose animal has been harmed by somebody else.
Is Your Pet an Inanimate Object?
Simply speaking, household pets of any kind are classed under Australian law as if they were simple property. In other words, they will be seen as if they were any other inanimate object, should you pursue a case through legal channels. This means that you may only be able to pursue damages if you've been affected economically by the incident.
For example, if somebody had hurt your dog or cat intentionally, you may well have had to take the animal to the vet for assistance. It's possible that you could recover these costs by taking action against the perpetrator, but this might be about the extent of it.
Could the Law Be Changing?
Some jurisdictions are beginning to see how shortsighted this legislation is and some offenders have indeed been found guilty of cruelty to animals. It seems that the system is slowly beginning to recognise specific animal rights under these circumstances.
Assessing Your Options
Get in touch with a lawyer who specialises in dog or cat rights and outline your case to them. You may well be in a position to take some more serious legal action in your particular area.