Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Find a Lawyer

More Options

Pet Custody Laws: Divorces Tackle Pet Custody

By Jason Beahm | Last updated on

So who gets the pet when a couple divorces? Does your state have pet custody laws?

Attempting to answer the recurring question of pet custody laws, a Saskatchewan judge felt that it was an insult to the court that the matter would be presented at all. He called the court custody case over a Labrador retriever a waste of time, saying "A dog is a dog."

"It is demeaning for the court and legal counsel to have these parties call upon these legal and court resources because they are unable to settle, what most would agree, is an issue unworthy of this expenditure of time, money and public resources," Court of Queen's Bench Justice Ted Zarzeczny said, the National Post reports.

Ultimately Judge Zarzecnzy awarded the dog to the woman in the case, who must pay her ex-spouse $350, half the purchase price. That's common because pets are generally treated as personal property under the law. Zarzeczny hoped that this was the last time his court was called upon to decide a pet custody matter.

However, at least in the U.S. it seems that pet custody laws are going to become more common. We previously wrote a New Jersey case in which a pet owner filed an appeal after their pug was awarded to an ex-fiancé. The former pet owner successfully argued that the pet should not be treated "like another piece of furniture," and instead the court should consider the subjective value of animal.

Similar cases have arose in California, Florida, and other states. Its too early to say for sure whether pet custody laws could develop into it's own legal specialty, but it now seems possible.

Related Resources:

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:
Copied to clipboard