April 2, 2013, - 12:01 pm
The animal rights nuts have won. As I’ve been saying on this site for years, they won long ago.
They won because Americans spend billions on organic animal treats, pet resorts, Bark Mitzvah gear, and pet aromatherapy, spa treatments, and massage. They won because far too many Americans refer to pets as their “kids” and treat them far better than they would their kids. They won because being a vegan is no longer a freakish condition, but a mainstream attribute, complete with vegan restaurants and the like. So while you and I think that PETA a/k/a PUTAh (People for the Unethical Treatment of Animals and humans) is a crazy terrorist organization that euthanizes dogs and supports organizations that blow up university buildings and ruing college medical research experiments, they’ve won. Maybe not as fast or as noticeably as the gay marriage advocates. But they’ve won and they’re continuing to change American attitudes to the point that you and I might be what’s for dinner and eating steak will be a criminal offense.
And the latest example that they’ve won is the Michael Fossett/Lindsay Conte custody fight.
They only had a dog together for about 18 months, but their legal fight over who should get to keep Dennis Hopper after they split has lasted at least twice that long. Michael Fossett and Lindsay Conte first squared off over custody of the miniature brown and white dachshund in Justice of the Peace Court in 2011, then took it to the Court of Common Pleas in 2012 and most recently to Delaware Superior Court.
Last week, in an opinion that has gone viral in the legal community, Judge Jan R. Jurden ruled that Conte has the best claim. “For many ‘happiness is a warm puppy’” she wrote, but under Delaware law, a dog has “the same legal status as a piece of furniture.” Jurden concluded the dog was a gift from Fossett to Conte and following their break-up he cannot reclaim it. . . .
I’m glad the courts still see it that way, but, unfortunately, things are trending toward giving animals–particularly dogs and cats who are domesticated pets–some sort of legal status beyond that. And that’s where the collective American psyche is headed.
The trouble started a little over a year later in June 2010, when the couple split and feuded over custody of the dog. Conte claimed it was a gift to her and she had provided most of its care while Fossett noted that he had paid for the dog and most of its expenses and Dennis Hopper had spent nearly all its life in his apartment.
The argument ended when Conte left with the dog and Fossett walked away saying, “whatever.” The two later “agreed to a fluid shared custody” arrangement, according to court papers, where the dog spent some time with Fossett and some time with Conte. But that unwritten deal soon fell apart. Conte claimed in court that Fossett had made things “awkward” by having women at his apartment when she dropped off Dennis for visits and further charged Fossett left the dog alone in the apartment “to go out drinking with his friends.”
Fossett claimed Conte only became furious after meeting his new girlfriend in September 2010 and stormed out with the dog screaming, “You’re never going to see Dennis again!” In May 2011, Fossett went to Justice of the Peace Court to get the dog back, but lost. On appeal to the Court of Common Pleas, the judge ruled in his favor in February 2012 following a bench trial.
Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph F. Flickinger III ruled the dog was not a gift to Conte but a gift “from Fossett to himself and Conte as a couple.” The judge also ruled that Fossett’s statement of “whatever” did not amount to terminating their joint agreement. Jurden, in her ruling, disagreed writing that “Despite angelic tendencies, the law views a dog as property,” and that the dog was a gift that could not be reclaimed.
The sanity of these idiots who spend gazillions going to court over a dog cannot be reclaimed, either. Sadly, there are plenty of other Americans like these two, and they, too, go to court over and over again over the custody of pets. Can you imagine if these people had a kid together? I doubt they’d fight as hard for custody. Not even close.
While a dog may be a man’s best friend, this isn’t man’s best moment.
Like I said, the PETA/PUTAh crowd has won.
Methinks the real Dennis Hopper is turning over in his grave.
Tags: Animals rights, Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph F. Flickinger III, Delaware Superior Court, Dennis Hopper, dog custody fight, dog legal fight, dumb custody fights, dumbest custody fight ever, Jan R. Jurden, Joseph F. Flickinger III, Judge Jan R. Jurden, Judge Joseph F. Flickinger III, legal status of dogs, legal status of pets, Lindsay Conte, Michael Fossett, pet custody fights, PETA, PUTAh