Is Having Too Many Pets Morally Wrong?
About whether having too many pets is morally wrong, the Bible does share principles that help answer this question. In the beginning, God created all the animals and told mankind that we were to have dominion over them (Genesis 1:26-28). To have dominion does not mean we were to use animals or pets in any way that would abuse or hurt them. This word for dominion in Hebrew is “radah,” which means to rule or reign much like a king does over his citizens.
God made man in His image, meaning, humans were to have the same character as Him. God’s character is that of love (1 John 4:8). Therefore, when a loving king, or queen, rules over their subjects they are to do so in the animal’s best interest. Having said that, if a person has the means (time, resources, space, energy, etc.) needed to properly care for his pets then it is morally correct for them to have as many pets as this allows.
On the contrary, if a person does not have proper means to care for his pets that he has taken in, then yes it can become morally wrong. This is because the rights of these living creatures are at stake. One can morally have only as many pets as they can properly care for. Thus, having more pets than exceeds this is wrong and unfair to the animals. This is because it not only is harmful to the pets’ well being, but it dishonors God (Numbers 22:32-34).
Jesus shared the value of animals by stating it was right to rescue an animal from a pit on the Sabbath, even though it was a day of rest (Luke 14:5). It is in God’s character and biblical principle to care for His creation. The Psalmist wrote, “Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:16).
Regarding having too many pets, it is also morally wrong to put all of one’s means (time, attention, finances, etc.) into their pets at the neglect of one’s own family. The Bible is truly clear that everyone, especially God’s people, have a responsibility to provide for their household and family as a priority. “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).
A simple principle that can help guide this decision is, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31-32). The believer should do everything, even the small details of daily life, in such a manner that God, not man, is glorified. Such a life requires the continual yielding of the mind to the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:31; 2 Corinthians 4:10; Colossians 3:17).
God gave us animals as a means for us to demonstrate if we have God’s character of love or the devil’s character of selfishness. If we take in only the pets we can care for properly while also supporting our family’s needs, then we stand on good moral ground. If we, for our own selfish desires, take on more pets than we can afford or are able to give adequate care for, then we are sinning. This makes not only us look bad, but also dishonors God, as we were made in His image. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).
In His service,