ON REDEFINING THE BOUNDARIES OF ANIMAL OWNERSHIP: BURDENS AND BENEFITS OF EVIDENCING ANIMALSí PERSONALITIES (pdf file - 115.37 KB)
What is it about the lawís archaic perception of animals that makes it falter on the brink of constructing a modern concept of animal ownership? Were animals as personalty appreciated in their fundamental distinctions from other personal properties, the law might be able to fashion a more sophisticated set of legal responsibilities for, and rewards of, such ownership. Progress toward achieving that refinement requires the law to embrace a set of related concepts: that animals can and do have personalities, as well as that evidence rules allow those personalities to be manifested through testimony in civil actions concerning an animalís intent. As evidence doctrines on character and propensity expand and contract to address boundaries for these concepts, a fuller potential for property law may be effectively promoted as a result. Burdens (such as the new tort of negligent confinement) and benefits (such as a more reasoned acceptance of animal expression) await.