Do I need a model release to photograph pets?

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The short answer is no. It's kind of a trick question. First, you don't use a model release as a permission slip to shoot. A model release is for permission to publish. Second, pets are considered property so you will need a property release, not a model release. No, a pet cannot sue you no more than the Lonely Pines can sue you but the owner of the pet can sue you.