Many animals stick in groups, protect each other and communicate. Whales have deep emotional connection and morn if they loose one of their own. Humans are actually less corrupted than humans in that sense. Meer cats have a social system. And elephants help and watch after their young. They stick together more than we do.
Yes. Animals do have the right to be involved with, and engage with people that make them feel comfortable. Although it would be very difficult to categorize an animals emotions legally, it is clear when an animal is afraid of a person; and is also clear when they love a person.
Animals are not sentient in the way humans are. Though this doesn't mean they can't feel emotions or act on more than plain instinct, they are also not thinking creatures the way we are. I honestly don't even understand how an animal could participate in a social contract if afforded one.