If you're a dog lover (or pet lover in general), a law isn't necessary to determine that your pet is a member of the family. However, when it comes to the law and all of that legal mumbo jumbo, this info is actually quite interesting.

According to Daily Mail, most of us can agree that a dog is a person's best friend. However, there are only six states in the entire country where our pup is considered a legal family member. Two of those six states are New Hampshire and Maine. New York, Illinois, California, and Alaska are the others.

What does this mean?

According to Daily Mail, our pets legally being family members means attorneys and judges can make decisions in custody cases, just like they do with children.

According to Psychology Today, while the majority of us pet owners wholeheartedly consider our dogs to be family members, most courts consider them property, which is a bit tough to swallow when put in those terms. Psychology Today says that around 90% of dog owners not only treat pets like family members, but consider them as such.


While the consensus in most states (legally speaking) is that a dog is property with no familial rights, we do see that changing because of emotional bonds, according to Psychology Today.

What it comes down to for New Hampshire and Maine, just like custody situations with children, is that it's all about what's in the best interest of the pet's well-being and safety in terms of each person's ability and willingness to care for the dog.

I mean, when you put it that way, how can a state not make this a law when we're talking about a living, breathing animal who should have well-being rights, too?

LOOK: Here are the pets banned in each state

Because the regulation of exotic animals is left to states, some organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, advocate for federal, standardized legislation that would ban owning large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home state, as well as across the nation.

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