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Why is Dog Custody a Serious Issue of Divorce?

  • December 15, 2021

Pet owners will not be surprised to find out that the custody of the dog in the family is usually a point of contention during divorce or separation. But, they might be shocked to discover the fact that Fido is considered to be personal property in the eyes of state law just like the piano or your favorite item of jewelry. 

The courts decide on the custody of a pet according to what is within the "best interests'' of the pet. If you want the pet custody to be sorted out of court then you can look for animal rights mediation services

Divorce: Who Gets the Dog?

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Here are examples of some pet custody court cases which didn’t end up as expected:- 

Akers in v. Sellers, a 1944 Indiana court case, is believed to be the first case in which there was a dispute over the dog's ownership in divorce. John Akers filed a court procedure to get the Boston bull terrier returned from the woman he had divorced, Stella Sellers. 

Stella was the one who stayed in the home of the family and was the one who got the pet due to the fact that it was living there. The court decided that the dog was owned by Stella since it was gifted by John at the time of the wedding. This ruling treated the dog just like other gifts from personal possessions.

In 1960 in the case of Ballas, her husband wanted custody of the pet but the court agreed that Shirley Ballas should have the pet because she was the person who was responsible for taking care of the pet. It is believed to be the very first court case where a court took into account an individual's "best interest" for a dog when deciding who gets custody.

George Brooks

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