The Family Standard of Care & Protection Act

Legislation to protect animals and defend the relationship with their human families.


Today, seventy-three million American families share their homes with 165 million dogs and cats. We talk to them, keep their photos on our cell phones, celebrate their birthdays, vacation with them, take time off from work to care for them when they are sick, and when it is time to say good-bye, we grieve. For the vast majority of people, the bond they share with their animal companions is a familial one, born of love and mutual affection.

Given the profound nature of the relationships that often develop between people and their companion animals—the love, the mutual affection and often, the emotional dependence—our legal system should recognize the importance of such relationships. When others who have been entrusted to responsibly care for our animal companions—such as veterinarians, pet food manufacturers, and boarding kennels—fail to do so, the human families of animals injured or killed as a result of that failure should be compensated in a manner that adequately reflects the depth of their suffering or loss.

Tragically, the very industries which benefit most from the love and concern people have for their four-legged family members—veterinary medical associations, the pet food industry, pet product manufacturers, and others—have fought efforts to increase compensation for the victims of such harm. They argue that since rescued animals have no market value, they aren’t worth anything: “Their position is that a dog is like a toaster… When you break it, you throw it away and get a new one.”

And so they encourage courts to rely on 19th century case law that held animals are mere property and by disingenuously claiming that failure to do so will lead to skyrocketing costs that would preclude anyone but the rich from being able to pay for boarding, veterinary care, and other services. But this is nothing more than fear mongering and is designed to obscure their true motivation: profit.

While the No Kill Advocacy Center, my organization, has previously filed legal briefs in court cases and we will continue to do so in the future, we have also written model legislation to increase legal protections for our animal companions and their human families.

For a copy of the model law, click here.


For  a guide on getting legislation introduced, click here.


For the other 16 free guides on everything from banning the gas chamber to adopting your way out of killing, click here.


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