Spain starts shared custody of pets

Who gets the dog after divorce?

Spanish courts will consider a pet's welfare

when couples divorce or break up

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) ANIMAL WELFARE LAWYER, LOLA GARCIA, SAYING:"It is a big change because, until now, in cases of separation or divorce, the courts had to accredit that the animal belonged to both parties. That is, we were always using the criteria of 'property' to try to determine shared custody. From now on, as a result of the change, the court has to determine with which member of the couple the animal will be better off and that will be based on the welfare of the animal."

The legal shift strengthens the case for couples

obtaining shared custody of their animals

The decision follows similar moves in France and Portugal

(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PSYCHOLOGIST, RODRIGO COSTALVILAS, SAYING:"I think it's quite good because this will help decrease the abandonment and mistreatment of animals. Today in Spain this is a big problem. I also think it will help those who see pets as a piece of property to understand they are a living being."

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