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No one wants to think about not being able to be there for a beloved pet. However, sometimes unexpected situations arise where someone is no longer able to care for their companion animal. Making arrangements in a will is a great idea, but it doesn’t cover every circumstance. How can pet owners ensure that someone they trust will take care of their beloved animals if they’re no longer able? 

Last spring, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed new legislation called Matthew’s Law. This law makes it easier for family members and loved ones to gain access to pets when their owner can no longer care for them. Anasazi Animal Clinic staff wants to make sure everyone in Arizona knows about this law and the peace of mind it provides. 

What is Matthew’s Law? 

On April 1, 2021, Governor Ducey signed HB 2507, also known as Matthew’s Law. Under this new law, landlords may release a tenant’s pet to a relative or to an animal shelter if the tenant dies or is no longer able to care for the animal.

The idea for Matthew’s Law stems from the death of Matthew Meisner, a 27-year-old man shot and killed in Tempe in July of 2020. Following Meisner’s death, his family wanted to take his three cats from his apartment to care for them. 

At that time, Arizona law considered pets personal property. That meant the landlord could not touch or remove the cats for up to 15 days. Thankfully, Meisner’s loved ones received assistance from the police and rescued his three cats after four days. All three are alive and well today! 

To help ensure no one else has to go through this ordeal, Meisner’s family worked with Arizona House of Representatives Shawnna Bolick to write HB 2507. As part of Arizona’s pet laws, Matthew’s Law allows landlords to relocate the animals of a deceased or debilitated owner within one day. 

How can I ensure someone takes care of my pet if something happens to me?

Matthew’s Law is a great addition to pet ownership laws in Arizona. It grants pet owners who are renting an apartment, house, or other temporary living arrangement security in knowing that someone will take care of their animals if they cannot.

Pet owners may also opt to do some future planning and make arrangements for their pet’s care as part of their will. Through estate planning, pet owners can use their will to establish: 

  • Who they would like to take care of their pet
  • How much money they would like to give that person for the care of their animal

And if you do not have a relative or close friend willing to take your pet, you can specify which nonprofit animal rescue your pet should go to in your will.

Helping to Protect Pets In Arizona

Legislation like Matthew’s Law helps Arizona pet owners to take great care of their pets, even if they can’t physically be there for them anymore. Here at Anasazi Animal Clinic, we are proud to live in a pet-friendly state that protects and serves its four-legged citizens. If you need dedicated veterinary care in Gilbert, Arizona, contact us today at 480-497-0505

Photo by Madalyn Cox on Unsplash

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