Happy the dog is a cute little guy with big brown eyes and a friendly demeanor. But according to the New York Court of Appeals, he’s not a person.
The ruling came after Happy’s owner, a woman named Sara, sued her former partner for custody of the dog following their breakup. Sara argued that Happy was more than just property and that she should be granted custody based on the dog’s welfare.
But the court disagreed, saying that while dogs are “undoubtedly sentient beings,” they are still considered property under New York law.
“Dogs are not persons, no matter how valued they may be as members of our families and our communities,” the court wrote in its decision.
The ruling was met with disappointment by animal rights advocates, who have been pushing for greater legal recognition of animals as beings with rights and interests of their own.
“Today’s decision is a setback for dogs and for our society’s evolving recognition of their emotional and social complexity,” said Steven Wise, founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project.
Despite the ruling, Sara says she will continue to fight for Happy’s custody, and she’s not alone. Animal lovers around the world have rallied to her cause, arguing that dogs deserve more than just property status under the law.
As for Happy, he seems to be taking it all in stride. He’s still the same lovable dog he’s always been, and he doesn’t seem to care whether he’s considered a person or not.