Animal Law Review

First Page



Feral dogs occupy an ambiguous position, challenging standard categories of domestication, wildness, and property ownership. This ambiguity, in turn, complicates the legal status of feral dogs. Feral dogs' property status is particularly critical, as whether a feral dog is owned by someone, or no one at all, hold implications not only for civil and criminal liability in incidents involving feral dogs, but also the legal ability of animal rescue organizations to intervene in the lives of feral dogs. Part II of this Article summarizes the application of property law to ani­mals, particularly highlighting the role played by an animal's status as wild or domestic; Part III explores the factors distin­guishing feral dogs from other canines, determining that feral dogs should properly be situated as domestic animals; Part IV discusses the legal landscape relevant to feral dogs, focusing particularly on ownership and liability; and Part V examines the ways in which the property status of feral dogs may impact an animal rescue organization's ability to care for those animals.



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