Dogs should be treated like children in divorce cases: Italian lawyer

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Dogs should be treated like children in divorce cases: Italian lawyer
File photo of two labradors: Pexels

Divorce can be complex whatever the circumstances, but the key question for one Italian couple was: what about the dogs?


The husband, aged 46, and wife, 42, had been able to resolve their differences amicably and presented a joint request for separation, including clauses relating to how their property should be divided up, and how they would share care of their ten-year-old daughter.

The request, presented by the couple's lawyer Paola Mari, stated that the wife would continue living in the marital home, with the couple's daughter and two labradors.

But there was one more unusual stipulation.

As well as paying child maintenance for the ten-year-old, the woman's ex-husband must pay €75 each month for the dogs' food and healthcare, the request stated. In return, he would be granted the right to visit and take the dogs for walks.

"It's about recognizing pets as important objects of affection and sentiment within the family, which need to be taken care of, even in the case of a separation," Mari told Il Corriere di Veneto.

"We're making progress towards recognizing animal rights, now we just need to await the decision of the judge."

It could take three weeks for the public prosecutor to give a final decision, but there is a precedent in Italian law for applying the same rules used to arrange custody of children to pets - rather than using rules applied to property.

A similar case in Rome last month saw a couple awarded joint custody of their beloved pet Spot the dog, a nine-year-old crossbreed whose owner had taken him with him when he left his wife during the Christmas holidays of 2011. Judges ruled that Spot should spent six months of the year with each of his owners.


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