The sentiments and wellbeing of a pet will be considered if a couple divorces or separates under this new law.
In Spain, a new legislation has been approved that deems a pet to be a family member, as opposed to being treated as property in the United States. The sentiments and wellbeing of a pet will be considered if a couple divorces or separates under this new law.
According to Reuters, the legislation, which recognizes pets as sentient beings and allows couples to seek joint/shared custody of their animal family, went into force on January 5. The decision was made in response to similar measures in France and Portugal, where dogs are no longer considered human property.
“Animals are family members, and when a family decides to split up, the fate of the animal must be controlled with the same seriousness as the fate of other family members,” said Lola Garcia, a 42-year-old lawyer. According to PennLive, “determining things like visitation rights and joint custody” for something that is legally recognized as property becomes difficult, if not impossible.
The optimum outcome for the dogs’ well-being may be obtained by considering their pleasure and sentiments. The new action in Spain gives pet lovers all across the world optimism that similar measures will be implemented shortly. According to PetGuide, this legal change in a pet’s status also implies that it can no longer be “abandoned, confiscated, or mortgaged.”
An unmarried couple was given shared custody of a dog by a Madrid judge in October after the couple sought a court judgement to determine who the pet should stay with following their separation. It is said that the dog now spends a month with each of them, and they are both legally liable for the dog.
Garcia, whose Rights&Animals business was in charge of the lawsuit, regarded it as the beginning of many steps toward the reformation of future legislative reforms affecting people’s interactions with animals. Many Spaniards, on the other hand, are opposed to the recent changes in rules, particularly because of the practice of bullfighting, which has persisted despite the protests of animal rights advocates.
Previously, attorneys seeking shared custody of a pet had to show who owned the animal as an item, which favored the person who registered the pet. Now, a court would have to decide where the animal would be happier and make their judgment based on that information.
Apart from Portugal, France, and Spain, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland have laws in place that acknowledge animals as sentient creatures with feelings, and that “legal processes aim towards their wellbeing.”
Representative cover image source: Getty | Photo by Thomas Barwick