A couple in Spain who went to court to determine who would get ownership of their Border collie following the breakup of their nearly two year relationship, have been reportedly awarded joint custody of the dog named Panda.
According to Spain’s the OlivePress, the judge determined that each partner should be “jointly responsible” and would be “co-caretakers” for Panda. The dog will stay with each person for one month at a time.
What makes this decision unusual is the judge’s ruling which has taken a clear stance that pets are sentient beings and not to be regarded as property. The ruling states:
“…that the evidence in the proceedings between the plaintiff and the dog that is worthy of legal guardianship.”BBC News
Lola Garcia had been the attorney to bring the case before the court under the 1987 European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals. In 2017, Spain ratified the law, and Garcia used veterinary bills, the dog’s adoption contract and photos of the couple with Panda as evidence of the relationship. It was this way that Garcia could demonstrate to the judge the need for Panda’s emotional well-being as contrasted to decisions of the past deciding dogs were property.
” The possession of the animal by the couple, when they were living together, for more than a year, has generated an effective bond between the plaintiff and the animal.”Judge’s ruling
Spain is continuing to draft legislation which will elevate the status of pets to “sentient beings” – making it easier for judges to award joint custody in the future.
Maybe wake up United States?
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