Who are America's Sentient Animals

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Last week, I posted a piece about reclassifying dogs in America as sentient beings rather than mere property. Many comments blasted my suggestion: treat dogs like children? That’s ridiculous.

Or is it?

I openly call my dogs my babies. I think of them as family. Each one of my pets - from the dogs and cats to the birds, rodents and ever-beloved lizard, Vegas - is cared for and treated like an individual in my home.

How do you think of your pets? Do you ever call yourself their Mommy or Daddy?

As my article was getting tossed around the Internet, I considered letting some of the more ridiculous comments go. But when several alerts arrived with links to videos of people beating their defenseless dogs, I felt compelled to make a stand. In one video, a man beat his dog with a studded 2 x 4. I was utterly baffled when he justified the abuse by stating, “It’s only a dog.” Other videos—not just in America, but in England, too—show dogs with their mouths taped shut, abused by teenagers and lifted and thrown down onto hardwood floors.

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