In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a Canadian judge ruled that dogs cannot be treated as children during a recent custody fight and must be viewed as property. According to the Guardian, the ruling came during a divorce case where a woman asked for custody of the couple’s dogs as if they were children.
The judge told the couple in what has been called a “scathing decision” that dogs are property, and the distinction clearly shows that children are not purchased from breeders. Justice Richard Danyliuk rebuked the couple for using the court system to settle a custody fight over their two dogs.
“A dog is a dog. At law it is property, a domesticated animal that is owned. At law it enjoys no familial rights,” the judge wrote in his decision.
The couple, who had no children, were divorcing after 16 years of marriage, but couldn’t agree where two of their three dogs would live. Initially the husband had been seeking custody of one of the dogs, but had asked a judge to intervene with the living arrangements of the other two dogs – aged 9 and 2. Judge Danyliuk did acknowledge that dogs differ from other property as there are protections against cruelty or neglect, but he wouldn’t entertain the idea of applying child custody rules to animals.
“…we don’t breed our children with other humans to ensure good bloodlines, nor do we charge for such services. When our children act improperly, even seriously and violently so, we generally do not muzzle them or even put them to death for repeated transgressions,” the judge stated.
For now, the two dogs, named Kenya and Willow will continue to live with the wife’s family until the judge decides as to a fair and equitable property split. Judge Danyliuk did tell the couple how he thought this having been brought to the court was a waste of resources in light of people forced to wait months in child custody cases, but warned them if they can’t come to a mutual decision, he could order the dogs sold and the proceeds split.
No doubt people view their dogs as integral parts of their lives and many people do perceive their pets as their children. What do you think of the judge’s decision?
(Photos of two dogs in custody fight via Facebook)
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