It’s Raining Cats and Dogs…

Image result for funny pet memes Image result for funny pet memes  Related image

Here at ACCORD we have noticed a rise in the amount of cases we have been getting that specifically involve pets.  We have provided mediation for some of those cases, but there have also been parties that have decided to just go on to court.  It may seem like an odd occurrence to some of you (maybe for those who might not have pets), but we are seeing these cases more frequently.  I think that it is important to bring some special attention and awareness to these cases because they do tend to hold very high emotions and can be some of our more difficult cases.
People who own pets tend to have a very special bond with their pets and perhaps that pet has provided something to them that they may not have been able to get from other humans around them.

“Humans need love, companionship, and emotional support.  We need to be needed… Divorce lawyers repeatedly tell me that custody of the dog can be a greater source of conflict than is custody of the children!  An animal is someone to hug and hug you back- someone to play with, to laugh with, to take a walk with, to share beautiful days with, to cry with.  For a child, the dog is a playmate, a friend, someone to talk to.  The dog is a protector…,” Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton, How to use Mediation to Resolve Conflicts over Animals.  

For many, their pet is a valuable member of their family.  “Our pets have become sources of friendship and company for the old and the lonely, vehicles for penetrating the frightful shell surrounding a disturbed child, beings that provide the comfort of touch to even the most asocial person, and inexhaustible sources of pure unqualified love, ” says Voda-Hamilton.   With knowing how strongly one can feel love for a pet you might begin to imagine what it would look like when issues or conflict arise involving that same pet.  Emotions, positions, and even physical stances have the very real possibility of getting high.  What one neighbor may just see as “some animal”, the pet owner may see as a loyal friend and family member.       

“Small wonder, then, that it is not uncommon for significant feuding to occur between neighbors over the behavior of a dog.  The dog barks too late at night, the dog defecates on the neighbor’s law, the dog frightens children in the neighborhood, the dog has treed someone’s cat, or the dog is of a certain breed around which ubiquitous but hyperbolic legends about viciousness and aggression have developed.  The neighbor calls the police or chases or threatens the dog, and thus begins a conflict that can endure for years,” Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton, How to use Mediation to Resolve Conflicts over Animals.

It is our hope that we would be able to mediate more of these cases in the future, and find ways for case managers to assure clients that we have mediators that are aware and sensitive to cases involving pets.

We will be providing a Continuing Education evening this summer that will specifically deal with some strong techniques when having to mediate a case that includes animals.  Be on the lookout!

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