AKC’s Thoughts on The New York Times Op-Ed “Dogs Are People, Too”

There has been a lot of talk recently, specifically in the New York Times and on Dogster, about dogs being considered people. 

We wanted to share our thoughts with you and explain what that would mean for pets and their owners. 

Take a look at the Letter to the Editor that the AKC sent to the New York Times in response to a writer's Op-Ed.

In his op-ed, “Dogs Are People, Too,” Gregory Berns argues that dogs can experience emotions on the same level as a human child. The distinction of “limited personhood,” he suggests, would offer dogs the human right of self-determination and protect them from exploitation. Would spaying or neutering your dog then not also violate their rights? Would guiding your dog on a walk or driving them to the vet be in breach of their civil liberties?

The American Kennel Club is dedicated to helping people find their new family member, their best friend. The bond between dog and owner is irrefutable. But reclassifying “property” as “humans” or even “owners” as “guardians” could result in a reduction of pet responsibility, higher veterinary costs and unwarranted animal seizure. Educating the public about responsible dog ownership and fostering life-long relationships seems a better solution than a nation of dogs on the loose.