My Dog is Not “Chattel,” My Dog Is Family

March 5, 2019

I admit it, I look at other pet care facilities’ web sites.  I look at how cool some of the web sites are, what services they offer, how much they charge – the normal stuff any neurotic small business

owner would do to make sure they stay competitive.  One of the areas I always look at is the forms the facilities have posted that pet parents need to fill out before bringing in their pet.

Quick disclaimer: while I’m about to critique what other people do, Pet Camp doesn’t post any forms on our web site (maybe we should?).  So what about these forms always pushes me over the edge?  When these facilities refer to a pet as “chattel.”

First, for those of you who don’t own a copy of Black’s Law Dictionary (sad to admit that I think I still have my copy somewhere), here’s the definition of chattel:

An article of personal property; any species of property not amounting to a freehold or fee in land. People v. Holbrook, 13 Johns. (N. Y.) 94; Hornblower v Proud, 2 Barn. & Aid. 335; State v. Bartlett, 55 Me. 211; State v. Brown, 9 Baxt. (Teun.) 54, 40 Am. Rep. 81. The name given to things which in law are deemed personal property. Chattels are divided into chattels real and chattels personal; chattels real being interests in land which devolve after the manner of personal estate, as leaseholds. As opposed to freeholds, they are regarded as personal estate. But, as being interests in real estate, they are called “chattels real,” to distinguish them from movables.

Sorry, all you pet care providers worried about litigation, my dog is not simply an article of personal property; my dogs are, well, my

My wonderful dog Marmalade, who is most definitely not “chattel.”

dogs!  I love my dogs way more than I could ever love an article of personal property.  You as pet care providers are making money off the love your clients have for their dogs.  Do you see anyone offering armoire daycare or offering to host a Valentine’s Day Party for your kitchen table?  Heck no!  So just cut it out, quit paying the lawyers to write your agreements and let your forms show the real reason you got into this business – because you love animals!

And pet parents, next time a pet care provider asks you to sign some legal form that calls your pet chattel, just say no and cross it out and write in “my dog” or find a provider that will love your pet and not just care for them as if they were an article of personal property.

Thanks for reading.


Pet Camp has been providing loving care for San Francisco’s dog and cats for more than 20 years.  We are thrilled to offer both doggie day and overnight care, amazing cat care, training, bathing and pick up and drop off services on the Pet Camp Express.  When your pet needs care give us a call, you won’t need to retain a lawyer to understand us.

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