PAPA, MAMAN, BEBE ET..FIDO! L'ANIMAL DE COMPAGNIE EN DROIT CIVIL OU L'EMERGENCE D'UN NOUVEAU SUJET DE DROIT
AbstractThe images some pet owners hold of their companion animal suggest that the animal represents more than a simple source of occasional distraction and amusement, and far transcends a simple care relationship. Outlet or substitute, refuge or fetish, pets often occupy a central role in the minds of their masters and their family members. The therapeutic value of pets has been widely recognized, and a growing number of experts affirm the ability of pets to satisfy real psychoemotional needs. Nearly human qualities are thus conferred on pets, which explains the highly singular attention bestowed on some cats and dogs. Nonetheless, assimilation of pets in the human world has yet to penetrate the boundaries of legal texts. Western law generally construes pets as common movables. In recent decades, some judges have clear themselves of abstract legal principles by granting pets a status that lowly material objects could never claim to possess . In France, judges have already ruled on the "custody" of animals when the family cell fragments. Others have recognized the master's right to obtain compensation for damages to ease suffering caused by the death of the beloved pet, whose premature demise is attributable to a third party. This article presents the issues that underlie this surprising jurisprudence, which can be interpreted as heralding the emergence of a new legal person.
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