Oh Dog! We’re FINALLY back with some good news to share!
Meow everybody! This week we’re headed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for some good news. They have ruled that police in Massachusetts can enter a home without a warrant if animals are in distress.
It seems in January of 2011 police received a call that dogs appeared hurt or dead at a home. When they arrived they found two dogs lying down and presumably dead and a third in bad shape. After unsuccessful attempts to contact the home owner, they cut the lock to the gate, entered the backyard and rescued the dog that was still living. The home owner, Heather Duncan, was charged with three counts of animal cruelty.
Duncan’s attorney argued that police had no right to enter Duncan’s property without her consent as they had no search warrant. To do so would be a violation of the homeowner’s 4th Amendment rights against Unreasonable Search and Seizure. The court, however, held that animals should be held under the same emergency exception as humans when they are in distress and in need of help.
This is big news, because it means that Massachusetts courts do not see animals as property but as living beings that must be cared for.
Now, Massachusetts isn’t the first state to rule in the favor of animals; 13 others states have also ruled in this way. But it’s great news for those of us who want animals to no longer be seen as property by courts and by law enforcement officials.
I wonder when we can expect a case such as this to hit the US Supreme Court?