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CVMA Policy on Owner vs. Guardian

Facts:

Changing the term from Owner to Guardian is not needed, and in fact, will result in many unintended consequences for pet owners.

  • Not just a “warm-and-fuzzy” change in terminology
  • It will lead to confusion and create a quagmire of legal issues for the courts, government, veterinarians, and families with pets
  • Jeopardizes the readily available health care delivery system for animals by unnecessary legal delays
  • Animals are not, and never will be, able to care for themselves if emancipated
  • There is no real evidence that the name change will benefit and actually improve the quality of life for our pets
  • Changing the term to “guardian” will not prevent the animal abuse, cruelty and neglect that exists today in our society
  • The terms “owner” and “guardian” are two entirely different legal designations and cannot be used interchangeably
  • It could undermine our laws that protect animals and provide public safety — most are predicated upon the determination of “ownership” and may not apply

© 2019 California Veterinary Medical Association

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