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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
Hi all,

My name is Ben and I live in Hong Kong. I am currently going through a very difficult time as I split from my ex a year ago, but while we tried to split custody of our son, our inability to make it work has resulted in her denying access to my son, which is proving emotionally devastating for me, and potentially my son.

While some US states, like NY, California, Illinois and Alaska, and places like Spain, Singapore and the UK are starting to see animal companions as "sentient" beings whose welfare is just as important as their parents', Hong Kong is not yet one of those places that has adopted a "best for all concerned" approach.

I'm trying to look into whether or not HK can join that small list, who in political and legal worlds are calling for such changes etc., but in the meantime, I thought to create an IG account that could help people in my situation, not just in HK but around the world.

[Link removed by moderator]

My thought is to create a community of people going through similar situations; denied the chance to be around or see their children because the law views them as 'property'. Through the telling and sharing of stories, perhaps not only could we build a community, but share ideas of how to move forward, and perhaps create awareness of the 'plight' of parents around the world, hopefully being able eventually to create genuine impact around the world.

This is a first for me - how best to expose it, use hashtags etc. still something I'm coming to terms with (any suggestions welcome!), but hopefully something wonderful can come from it for parents and their children all around the world.
 

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Are you referring, when you say your son, to a dog or to a human being? It is not really clear from your post, although it appears that you are referring to your dog as your son. No problem with your seeing your dog that way, of course, but it can be confusing as most people don't view their dog in those terms. I definitely see my dogs as my family, and care for them tremendously, in fact they are the center of my world, but I don't see or refer to them as my offspring, even though sometimes I will call myself a dog mom.

I wish you the best of luck with your efforts and also wish you peace in coming to terms with such a great loss.
 

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Here in the US, while the welfare of the animal is (or should be) taken into consideration, and people can call themselves "pet parents", or refer to their animals as "their kids" dogs, along with other companion animals and livestock are, in the end, considered property. Raising them to the same legal status as humans opens the door for a host of difficult issues.

I'm sorry that you are having difficulties, but you can take comfort in the fact that dogs live in the hear and now, and don't worry about what's going to happen in the future, and they don't stew over what's happened in the past.
 

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As long as animals are considered property under legal terms you are far better equipped to retain ownership of your property. If animals become sentient beings with rights in the end NEITHER person may end up with the animal..

Animal may go to some 3rd party... Such as a rescue.

NOT a good solution.
 

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Animal sentience laws already exist. They do not change animal status to that of human. They simply change "property" to "living property". They provide for the basic needs of the animal - food, water, shelter, medical care, and anti-abuse. They provide for the well-being of the animal to be considered in the making of laws and the enforcement of laws.

The EU, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain, New Zealand, Australian Capital Territory, and Quebec all have Sentient Animal laws without negative results.
 

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Animal sentience laws already exist. They do not change animal status to that of human. They simply change "property" to "living property". They provide for the basic needs of the animal - food, water, shelter, medical care, and anti-abuse. They provide for the well-being of the animal to be considered in the making of laws and the enforcement of laws.

The EU, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain, New Zealand, Australian Capital Territory, and Quebec all have Sentient Animal laws without negative results.
The property laws in the US are well established as are animal care laws (usually under Ag & markets laws). The care laws for companion animals are different than those for livestock (thank God horses in the US are still Livestock!).

The property laws are separate from the care laws.

If you acquire property prior to marriage, that property often stays with the person in the event of divorce (but not always!). Property acquired during marriage is typically divided between the separating parties.. but can have many nuances.

Children as a result of the marriage are sentient beings and things get messy as to custody, child support and so forth. Trust me you DON'T want dogs entangled in this.. and I do not care what is done on other countries with different forms of Government (most you mention are Socialist, not Democratic republics).

Just because an animal is property does not mean there are no laws to protect that animal's welfare.
 

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I disagree. In none of the countries have the laws created the problems you state will happen. You can talk politics, but the truth is identifying animals as "sentient beings" does not result in mayhem and madness.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys.
Some interesting views and experiences from around the world.

While human children benefit from a "best interests" approach, it seems that there are places which are following a "best for all concerned" approach; which places animal companions between property and children.

My hope is to understand how and why some places have switched to this way of thinking.

But in terms of this post, it was more about trying to find people going through similar situations as my search so far has only found isolated cases from 2012, 2015 etc., with the goal of, if nothing else, giving a space to share and be heard, which may be therapeutic in some way.
 

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I disagree. In none of the countries have the laws created the problems you state will happen. You can talk politics, but the truth is identifying animals as "sentient beings" does not result in mayhem and madness.
My point is this:
In the US animal welfare laws exist and animals are still your legal property under property law.

Adding "sentient being" descriptors just feeds the animal rights agenda (which would eliminate pets and animal agriculture or animal competition) and would further muddy and confuse the court system and judge's determinations.

As to the OP I am sorry your ex has your dog and you cannot see your dog. Dogs have relatively short lives. The court battle to obtain joint custody of a dog (in the US) could conceivably out last the dog's life. Where would the case be heard? In the US the case would likely be set aside and delayed as more important cases were heard first.

I think your best option for your own good and welfare would be to move on and acquire another dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
As to the OP I am sorry your ex has your dog and you cannot see your dog. Dogs have relatively short lives. The court battle to obtain joint custody of a dog (in the US) could conceivably out last the dog's life. Where would the case be heard? In the US the case would likely be set aside and delayed as more important cases were heard first.

I think your best option for your own good and welfare would be to move on and acquire another dog.
Thank you. This is the most common piece of advice that I have received, but until all options have been explored, I won't give up. Placating, communication and compromise seem the best option, plus maybe time and space, rather than legal recourse.

There has been a blind and deaf 10 year old breeder's dog that we've been fostering for 3 months that I've officially applied to adopt myself. She is such a ball of wonder despite everything she's been through, that I can't see her being anywhere else but with me.
 

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Adding "sentient being" descriptors just feeds the animal rights agenda (which would eliminate pets and animal agriculture or animal competition) and would further muddy and confuse the court system and judge's determinations.
This has not happened in any of the countries who have added Sentient Being laws. You are basing this on PETA. PETA is one animal rights organization with some extreme views. They do NOT represent all animal rights organizations and they have NOT accomplished any such things in any country that has added Sentient Being laws. Your argument does not hold up.
 
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