Dogs are no longer personal property but living beings under the law in France. Nearly 700,000 signed a petition against the 1804 law that categorized pets as "movable goods" such as tables and chairs.
The change to the law gives 63 million pets more protection against cruelty and brings the civil law in line with the penal code. The vote occured in the national assembly on Tuesday night still has to be approved by the Senate.
Dogs in Paris. Photo credit: Remy de la Mauviniere
Former education minister Luc Ferry signed the petition and said the Napoleonic legislation was "absurd". He said, "No one has ever tortured a clock. Animals suffer, they have emotions and feelings. It is not a question of making animals subjects of the law…but simply of protecting them against certain forms of cruelty."
The changes also means that couples can contest custody in a divorce and claim compensation for suffering caused to a pet accidental injuries. People will also be allowed to leave their inheritances to their pets.
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