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Are there any g'dolim (or rabbis of major influence) - past or present - who are known to have owned pets/kept animals for non-agricultural purposes?

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Interesting question! What brought it up? –  Isaac Moses Sep 26 '10 at 15:41
    
I cannot claim to know. It came from the same place from which all of my questions (and some of my answers!) come. –  WAF Sep 27 '10 at 20:22
    
Were King David's dogs pets or work animals? (For evidence that he had dogs, see Shabbat 30b.) –  Monica Cellio Nov 2 '12 at 20:52
    
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/30111 –  msh210 Jul 23 '13 at 5:13

6 Answers 6

There's a story here about the Zhviller Rebbe keeping pet cats:

http://www.jewishspirit.com/Journal/tales_1.html

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Shivaram, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks very much for this very on-point reference! I hope you'll look around and find other material here that animates you, perhaps including our 76 other animals questions. –  Isaac Moses Mar 14 '13 at 19:40

Reb Avrohom Gurwitz had a cat when I was in Gateshead

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There is a Tshuva of the Ya'avetz where he says it is forbidden to keep a dog as a pet. One can use a dog as a guard dog if he keeps it on a leash. and keeps them to a minimum.

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Interesting. Do we know of g'dolim who have had chained guard dogs? Was Rav Ya'akov Emden dealing with dogs that were more dangerous than the ones commonly kept as pets? He seems to be speaking about much more serious danger than most pet owners ever experience, doesn't he? –  WAF Jul 7 '11 at 2:12
    
There are two issues: 1) Danger 2)Moshav Leitzim (company of scoffers)/goyim. He explicitly mentions at the end of the Tshuva people who buy dogs to play with, and mentions that it is forbidden for the 2nd above mentioned reason. –  Shmuel Brin Jul 7 '11 at 2:51
    
Regarding 1), he refers to the well-known sakana involved in owning dogs, which leads to the condition that they be chained up under all circumstances. This sakana is not well-known to me with regard to the dogs that are currently usually maintained as pets. –  WAF Jul 7 '11 at 3:03
    
I'm pretty sure the gemoroh in baba kamma says yours allowed to have a dog a cat and a porcupine as a pet(maybe missing one more) because they keep the house clean by eating all the bones and stuff left over. This is regarding small dogs, big dogs are meant to be outside of the main city for protection. –  MoriDoweedhYaa3qob Mar 15 '13 at 5:35
    
@dhoweedyaagov most people don't keep pets for cleanliness, they have a vacuum for that –  Shmuel Brin Mar 15 '13 at 6:03

The Avos had sheep, camels, oxen and not all of it was for agricultural purposes.

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How do you know this? –  Isaac Moses Sep 27 '10 at 19:37
    
Can you cite one or two? –  WAF Sep 27 '10 at 20:21
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How do we know that the non-kosher animals were not for agricultural purposes? –  WAF Jul 7 '11 at 2:10
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@SethJ - Kept or no kept, some animals are t'horim and some are t'me'im, as differentiated by Noach. The term we use in modern times for some reason to refer to the tahor ones is "kosher". That, and you were joking so I'll stop now. –  WAF Jul 7 '11 at 12:10
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"not agricultural" does not equal "pets". –  Menachem Jul 19 '12 at 20:25

There is always this picture of Rav Lopian

http://theantitzemach.blogspot.com/2010/09/blog-post.html

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And the famous comment, "how do we know he was putting the saucer out for the cat, maybe the photo caught him as he was taking it away ..." –  Shalom Sep 27 '10 at 18:35
    
I'm guessing if that were really his cat it would be documented somewhere. –  WAF Sep 27 '10 at 20:21

I know of a Rosh Yeshiva in South Africa that kept dogs for protection.

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Did he personally ever deal with the dogs or did his 'help' handle that? –  Tzvi Sep 27 '10 at 2:00
    
He personally fed them at times, and often petted them. –  Gershon Gold Sep 27 '10 at 3:16

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