Do you have a constitutional right to own a pet?

By | March 28, 2006

Do you have a constitutional right to own a pet

A new McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum survey finds that only about one in four Americans (28 percent) are able to name more than one of the five fundamental freedoms granted to them by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Yet when it comes to knowledge of popular culture, Americans are considerably more tuned in. For example, almost twice as many Americans (52 percent) can name at least two members of ?The Simpsons? cartoon family.

Those freedoms, and the percentage of Americans who were able to name them when asked to list the freedoms of the First Amendment, are:

  • Freedom of Speech (69 percent)
  • Freedom of Religion (24 percent)
  • Freedom of the Press (11 percent)
  • Freedom of Assembly (10 percent)
  • Freedom to Petition for Redress of Grievances (1 percent)

Americans also think they have rights that aren?t necessarily granted at all. About one in five Americans (21 percent) agreed that the First Amendment granted them the right to own and raise pets, something that isn?t discussed anywhere in the U.S. Constitution or Bill of Rights. One in five also believe that the right to drive is guaranteed by the First Amendment, although the car was not invented for another 100 years.

The random telephone survey of 1,000 American adults was conducted Jan. 20-22, 2006 by Synovate, an independent market research firm. The margin of error due to sampling for a sample of this size at the 95th percent confidence level is +/- 3 percentage points. A full report on the survey results is available at the Freedom Museum Web site ?

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