09 Mar Owner VS. Guardian
PVMA’s PositionThe Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association is dedicated to the advancement of animal welfare and the human-animal bond. We support the current legal standing of animals as the property of their owners. We oppose the use of the term “guardian” to describe these parties. Guardian is a well-defined legal term that is not appropriate in describing the relationship between owners and their animals. We believe such a change could ultimately lead to excessive interference by third parties or governmental officials who impose their views on responsible animal owners. We believe that such interference with traditional property rights will impair the ability of animal shelters and humane associations to function effectively with available financial and human resources. The traditional ownership relationship confers property rights on owners that ensure their personal control over appropriate financial and medical decisions regarding the well-being of their animals. Lastly, the current status of animals is critical to allow the legal imposition of measures for control of infectious diseases to protect the public health and safety. Therefore, we believe a change in terms from “owner” to “guardian” would ultimately have a negative effect on animal welfare, animal care givers, and on society.