In Madrid, Spain, a court granted Joint Custody of Dog, named Panda. It was a noteworthy ruling which let the separated couple have Panda in Joint Custody.
Pet Parents, not Pet Owners
A Divorce is equally hard for both the child and the dog. Dogs consider us our family and are not able to understand the circumstances. An absence of a family member can be heartbreaking for the pooch. But during a divorce, several aspects of a couple’s life are split up, and courts often end up treating dogs as property instead of giving them the same consideration they would for a child.
But in this pioneer ruling, the court recognized the pet owners as “co-carers” and “co-responsible” rather than owners of the pet.
The Court Proceedings
The lawyer fighting the case used the 1987 European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals to advocate for her client’s rights to the dog. The convention allowed them to avoid calling. The pet dog is a shared property or thing instead of making the pet’s welfare. The focuses, along with the shared responsibility and the emotional bond the couple share with their dog, Panda.
Panda’s photographs with the couple, veterinary bills, and adoption contract were shown as evidence of the three being a family. This is similar to how a child’s family photographs are shown as evidence in court. The judge approved the evidence provided by the couple. They proved a valid relationship between thethree of them. Hence, the dog is worthy of legal guardianship.
The case, which was filed over a year ago, had its concluding decision only this month. The decision was to give each partner Bear’s custody for alternative months and jointly share the expenses like veterinary bills.
Similar Legal Instances
In the U.S, several states have passed laws that ask courts to give the same consideration to pets and have their best interests in mind as they would for a couple’s child during a divorce proceeding. Alaska was the first state to pass such a law. New York also has a similar law that recognizes the pet’s interests and considerations during dissolutions of relationships. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is an organization that advocates for similar court decisions in the United States.
Spain is following suit by drafting a new law. That no longer considers animals as mere objects but legally recognizes them as living beings. For many families who consider their pets equal to children. It will be easier for them to request or fight for joint custody.
Laws regarding custody of dogs in some parts of the world
In 2014, France changed its law and ruled that pets are living things with emotions and not movable objects.
In the United Kingdom, legally, dogs are given the status of inanimate objects similar to houses, cars, and other personal possessions. Custody is determined based on who the legal owner is
In Australia, no such legislation dictates how a pet will be handled in case of a couple’s separation.
Get your Personal Pet Care Assistant Now! Available on