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…A Symposium.

Dragons have been embroiled in legal issues since Eurynome evicted Ophion from Olympus and custodial questions cropped up in the matter of Epirotes and Python’s orphan brood.[1] Today, we live in a world enamored by litigation, with clogged courts and attorneys on every street corner. In such an environment, Dragons become easy targets. It is essential to know their rights, not to mention your rights and responsibilities as a Dragon keeper.

Dragons at Delphi

This is complex—and ever-expanding—territory,[2] demanding a free-floating, symposium approach. Over the next couple of days I will explore a variety of issues such as how the rights of primum cubilia (first nesting) conflict with our notion of eminent domain; wills and estate planning with Dragons in mind; international law and travelling with your Dragon; Dragons, poaching, and the Endangered Species Act; and your rights in Dragon Country. Any questions, germane tales of personal legal experiences (who amongst us hasn’t inadvertently flown across a boarder leaving one’s papers back in the desk drawer!), and general give and take are welcome. So feel free to chime in!

Today, let’s start with some basics.

Much of modern Dragon law is based in a mix of common sense and retroactive guilt for the harm humans have caused the enchantments over the centuries. That said, all Dragons and pseudo dragons are on the International Endangered Species List. Of course, as the African sand cat, mantled howler, and pygmy rabbit will attest, being on the list doesn’t guarantee protection. In the case of Dragons, it does mean that, in their territory, their rules apply. Dragons have an advantage over many threatened creatures: they can and will defend themselves against all save the most lethal modern arms. Poachers are not only on their own, but, if caught, face the six-figure fines and up to 25 years in prison. Some nations do not feel this goes far enough, especially in the case of egg thieves who can wipe out a generation of in an afternoon. Increasingly, the courts give repeat offenders a choice: either life in prison or 3 weeks without so much as a pocket knife, in the company of the wronged weyr. Survive or not, it is believed to be just punishment: the guilty party has more of a chance than the Dragons they hunted, especially in this age of long-range, high-power weaponry.[3]

For the casual visitor to Dragon country, be it in a registered sanctuary or private lay-by, the law always favors the Dragon should anything messy and unpleasant occur. Not even rogue lions or park-fed bears are given as much statutory respect. Should you get singed (or worse) put all thoughts of suing WAFDE or a private keeper aside. You will be laughed out of court—and, depending on the magistrate, may even be charged costs for bringing a frivolous suit.

Tomorrow: Laws and exigent documentation for the well-travelled Dragon and their person.

[1] The former was a matter of judicial discretion—Eurynome being the judge and jury and executioner. In Epirotes’ case it helped that she had Apollo, god of law and order, on her side.

[2] I know: Where is Rumpole when we need him?

[3] WAFDE tries to remain neutral in such matters, deferring to national sovereignty and a belief in inherent draconic justice.