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PAW Patrol is centered on apparently sentient dogs who are involved in public service. Are these dogs chattels, like all (non-feral) dogs on Earth, meaning they are simply property to be used, or do sentient dogs have full rights in PAW Patrol?

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    Worse yet: from what I understand, they're vigilantes, which is probably illegal.
    – Stef
    Aug 30, 2021 at 10:33
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    I don't believe we've seen any adult talking animals. So maybe the difficult tasks the pups perform means they don't survive to adulthood, or they are the first generation of pups engineered with speech and intelligence, or the chromosome changes mean they don't survive to adulthood, or Ryder euthanizes the pups before they reach adulthood, possibly. Aug 30, 2021 at 14:36
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    @BinaryWorrier - Or going with my 'What is the PAWtrix?' explanation, the pups never age because Ryder is the protagonist in an ongoing simulation.
    – Valorum
    Aug 31, 2021 at 7:01
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    @Stef - They appear to be authorised by the Mayor, hence not vigilantes.
    – Valorum
    Aug 31, 2021 at 7:02

1 Answer 1

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I've seen nearly the entire run of Paw Patrol multiple times (minus some of the newer Cat Pack episodes, as my kids seem less interested in those and/or are starting to out grow the franchise) and I think I can provide a reasonable answer to this question.

TLDR Answer: No, dogs in the PAW Patrol universe do not have the same rights conferred to them as humans in wider society.

Outside of the titular PAW Patrol, very few other dogs are actually seen in Adventure Bay during the PAW Patrol TV Series. Most of what we know about the wider human/dog relationship is portrayed in PAW Patrol: The Movie, which takes place in a much larger setting (Adventure City) and depicts many more dogs.

The events of the movie and TV series appear to be nearly the same canon (e.g. Liberty later appears in the TV series and the pups know her), although I'm guessing PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie is going to retcon the events of Mighty Pups.

Dogs in PAW Patrol: The Movie, for the most part, appear to have a very typical dog/human relationship that we would see in the real world. The only difference is that all dogs can speak perfect English, and therefore be understood by humans and vice versa. Dogs clearly still have owners and are cared for nearly(*) entirely by humans. Evidence of this is the scene in which Ryder discovers the en-masse dognapping being done by Mayor Humdinger and all the 'missing' posters looking for them by those owners (at least some of which clearly say 'Lost Pet'). The driver of the CMS truck is shocked when Chase shows up to rescue him and nearly denies the rescue for a human team. The 'dog jail' in which they are taken was formally an obedience school. We should also point out that other dogs in the dog jail act more like typical dogs, despite the fact that they can speak English, and not the more human-acting dogs like the PAW Patrol. Chase is also shown abandoned in Adventure City as a pup before being taken in by Ryder.

Mayor Humdinger also has sweeping powers which allow him to arbitrarily enact rules upon the dog population. For example, banning dogs from the, ahem, dog park, or the mass dognapping and arbitrary detention of any dogs in the city. A mayor might be able to enact these rules for dogs in the real world (although there is usually also a voting city council of some sort) but not for humans(**). When Humdinger's goons later dognap Chase, they know exactly who he is (going so far as to blatantly mock his sense of authority) and detain him anyway, simply because Ryder isn't there to protest or stop them.

  1. There are exceptions of course. Dogs are capable of living autonomously without humans. Liberty, in the movie, doesn't have an owner. She appears to live both on her own and on the charity of multiple humans who help take care of her. Everest, from the TV series, lives autonomously before being adopted by Jake, and even then it's more of a 'buddy' relationship than an ownership one. Meanwhile, Tuck and Ella are never depicted as having owners in the TV series.

  2. I am of course aware that historically, and even today, many marginalized groups of humans sadly do not have the same rights as other humans and are subjected to arbitrary rules in society.

Therefore, at best, dogs have the same legal status as dogs in our world. At worse, dogs do have the same legal status as humans, but are a heavily marginalized population. Keeping in mind it's primarily a kids franchise, if we look at these wider societal issues through very rose-colored glasses, we can assume the former conclusion.

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