Pets Given Guardian ad Litem by Legislature in California? Can Pets Sue?

The Assembly Bill 1520 to the CA legislature 2014, was opposed by The Animal Council for reasons listed below in the PDF:

Below is the proposed assembly bill, “bill analysis” calling it a non controversial item:

We have to admit that as pointed out by The Animal Council, the bill does use such data which indicates that by implementing a guardian ad litem, it will (in our opinion) set a precedent that animals are represented by third parties (guardian) in legal matters…. IF in fact animals could be represented in COURTS nationwide by third parties, which is what ANIMAL RIGHTS wants to do nationally—then the animals being represented, have in theory, managed to obtain the rights normally reserved for people.

Guardians, conservators, power of attorney, etc.– normally confer some limited power for one person over another.  When this happens, usually the one with the power over the other cannot and should not misuse the authority. For people having power to represent the rights of animals however, this could give all animals potential ‘standing’ to possibly sue, because they have a person assigned to them to do it?

Do we see the potential problems here?  Animals are considered property under the law in the United States. So where does property get the right to sue?  Admittedly in the bill that no one seemed to notice except for The Animal Council, it would be a dangerous proposition to start appointing guardians for animals just because there was a pet trust. It would be assumed that a pet trust already had some type of executor to carry out the deceased person’s directions.

In any event, most people probably have never thought of this problem. We have, even though we don’t know anyone who even has a pet trust.

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