The world according to Chewie
Editor’s Note: After casting a critical eye on the firm’s operations, Chewbacca S. Barker, aka Chewie, has insisted that we publish his thoughts on various legal matters. Because he always gets what he wants, we are giving him an occasional column. Chewie’s opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of West-Watt Law, PLC. The statements herein do not constitute legal advice. Dogs can’t give legal advice. Don’t tell Chewie.
Today I would like to discuss dog disputes. I of course do not refer to disputes between dogs – we have quick, clear, no-nonsense methods of settling disputes that humans would do well to emulate – except that instituting this system would put lawyers out of work, and then I wouldn’t be able to come to the West-Watt Law office and get treats… Hmm. Fortunately it’s unlikely that humans will figure out how to sensibly resolve their disputes in the near future.
No, the dog disputes I refer to are disputes between humans regarding dogs. Humans are under the misapprehension that they own and are responsible for dogs, when in reality they are our servants. However, according to the arcane and labyrinthine system of laws they have set up, dogs are treated as items of personal property. Yes, you heard that right, according to the majesty of centuries of the law’s accumulated wisdom, there is no legal difference between a dog and a purse or a pile of gravel. And lawyers wonder why there are so many mean jokes about them. Did I tell you the one about the dog and the lawyer who… Never mind. Where was I?
Personal property. Yes, the law treats dogs as personal property. Compounding this outrage is the further injustice that humans place infinitely too little value on their dogs. The value of a dog as personal property in a legal dispute is limited to the amount of money a “reasonable” human being (an oxymoron if there ever was one) would be willing to pay for said dog. And as we know, humans are idiots and criminally undervalue dogs. So even if you were able to prove that someone out-and-out stole “your” dog, the money damages will fail to approach even a millionth of the true value of the dog.
Humans are at least smart enough to realize that we dogs are all unique, so it is possible to get an order from a court of record to have a lost or stolen dog returned to his or her “rightful owner.” Obviously the more proof you have that you belong to the dog, the better. License records, a microchip, tags, all are highly encouraged. And when you let your dog stay with someone else, make sure it is clearly documented with whom the dog has his or her permanent home.
As any dog can tell you, prevention is far better than court action. Follow these simple guidelines to keep those ridiculous lawyers out of your life.
Just kidding guys – you know I love you. Where’s my treat?
P.S. – I suppose the same principles apply to other animals, such as goldfish, hamsters, lizards, even (shudder) cats. But we all know that dogs are most important.
P.P.S. – For some reason the law does have a little bit more guidance and rules for animals that qualify as “livestock.” I don’t care about livestock and have nothing to say on that subject.