Sunday, September 25, 2005

Ask Scaebolah! #2

(Legal Solutions to Life’s Real Problems)

Dear Scaebolah,

I'm thinking of getting a pet. What do you think should I get? Although it would be hot to get a tiny dog just like Paris Hilton's Tinkerbell, I just don't see myself cleaning it's muck out of my designer purse.

Please help.

Hugs and Kisses,


Dear Lindsee,

A dog is an common (some would say obvious) choice for a pet. Our jurisprudence has recognized that they make loyal companions. They alert you of intruders (People v. Ilano, G.R. No. 31320; People v. Barredo G.R. No. L-2728), they can be used for races (see Art. 195(1) of the Revised Penal Code), they even eat the poisoned food that your unfaithful wife and her paramour have prepared for you (albeit belatedly, in People v. Bucsit G.R. No. L-17865). Furthermore, if you have the appetite for it, dogs can serve as pulutan (People v. Aguarino, G.R. No. 93199; People v. Olasan, G.R. No. 25155). Just check if you have any local ordinance against the consumption of dog meat.

However, cleaning up after your dog may be the least of your problems. Legal consequences attach to the ownership of animals, and although at common law dogs were regarded as ordinarily harmless animals (Splaine v. Eastern Dog Club, 28 N.E. 2d 250), where, however, "the owner of a dog knows it to be vicious...he is under a duty to either kill it or so restrain or confine it that it may not exercise its propensities to the injury of others" (3A C.J.S, S186). Furthermore, article 2183 of the Civil Code says that:

The possessor of an animal or whoever may make use of the same is responsible for the damage which it may cause, although it may escape or be lost. This responsibility shall cease only in case the damage should come from force majeure or from the fault of the person who has suffered damage.

This provision was applied squarely in Vestil v. IAC (G.R. No. 74431), where the owner of a dog was made liable for the death of a child it bit. The Court ratiocinated thus:

According to Manresa, the obligation imposed by Article 2183 of the Civil Code is not based on the negligence or on the presumed lack of vigilance of the possessor or user of the animal causing the damage. It is based on natural equity and on the principle of social interest that he who possesses animals for his utility, pleasure or service must answer for the damage which such animal may cause.

Cats are accorded less recognition in our jurisdiction. "Cool as a cat" has been used to describe a felon's behavior (People v. Curatchia G.R. No. L-31771). A citation of note is In Re: Petition for Philippine Citizenship of Luis Tan (G.R. No. L-5593), where petitioner was asked to translate the following senteces as a language test: "This is a cat. This is a ball. This is a flower. . . . Do you have a panty?". One can inquire into the possible correlations between a cat, a ball, a flower, and a panty-but that is perhaps a subject for a more extensive treatise.

My true suggestion for anyone involved in the legal profession is to get a porpoise. Porpoises are smart, and it can be a matter of judicial notice that they ram sharks in order to protect humans. If you don't mind your pet ramming your compañeros and compañeras in the future, a porpoise will be a worthwhile investment. If you plan working for a large firm, get two, and be careful not to turn into a shark yourself.

Best wishes,


Alone? Hurt? Pregnant? Just Ask Scaebolah! email


Blogger jillsabs said...

i'm getting me a porpoise asap!

thanks scaaebolah, you're the best :)

12:44 AM  

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