Divorced couples spend thousands of dollars in pet custody battle

Like many other couples, my husband Takashi and I decided to have a pet during the pandemic.

Working from home means we finally have time to take care of a new puppy. She is a Japanese breed known as the Shiba Inu so it only seems appropriate that she has a name from her country of origin.

Muku means soft and innocent in Japanese. She is definitely the former. We quickly discovered not so much later.

We’re not the only ones with pets suffering from a pandemic. By 2022, the total number of dogs and cats raised by Canadian companies will reach more than 16 million.

But there’s another thing many couples have done during the pandemic. Farewell.

The combination of millions of pets and thousands of separations has implications for Canadian courts: lots of pet custody court disputes – couples go before a judge for custody pets after separation or divorce.

Animal rights attorney Rebeka Breder, who has been dealing with pet custody disputes for years, says her case volume has almost doubled in the past few years.

“It was a really intense emotional battle, like fighting over children. And sometimes I would say maybe even more,” Breder said.


Breder warns that in some ways, fighting for pets is harder than fighting for children. That’s because when it comes to companion animals, Canadian law is open to interpretation.

Judges can take the pet’s needs into account, even though they’re not legally required to do so.

“The common law in Canada when it comes to how the law treats companion animals in pet custody disputes is…animals are property. They are treated like a chair, like furniture.”

When a person tries to prove the chair belongs to them, it can be quite easy – just show the receipt.

But how do you prove to the judge that your dog is your life and you can’t stand the thought of not having your precious furry baby with you forever? It’s not that easy.

One of the main reasons it’s complicated is that many couples split the cost of having a pet.

In my case, my husband and I share all of Muku’s expenses – everything from vet bills to puppy daycare fees.

W5 Producer Kevin O’Keefe with Shiba Inu, His Muku

“That happens very often,” Breder said. “Someone has receipts for veterinary bills, while the other partner has receipts for dog food and other things – the bank records that they paid for the animal.”

So, what happens when both people present evidence to prove that the pet is their property?

The case can drag on for years with sky-high court fees.


But how do ugly court battles affect pets? That is a concern for Montreal’s SPCA.

SPCA lawyer Sophie Gaillard said: “We’ve heard some horror stories when it comes to this. aversion to another spouse attached to the animal.”

SPCA attorney Sophie Gaillard, left, said she’s heard a number of “horror stories” when it comes to pet custody battles (W5)

To protect animals, they created an educational campaign called Lasting Relationships, which involves asking couples to sign an agreement to care for the animal or have a pet.

This document is like a prenup, except it is for pets. The couples signed a pledge to “put aside personal interests” and do what is “in the best interest of the animals” should they break up.

The contract was released in January 2022, the month with the highest divorce rate in Canada.

Although Gaillard says their petnup has never been tested in court, it’s a legal document she says should hold up.

The bottom line for Gaillard is that she hopes it will at least force couples to start talking about what happens to their pets after a separation or divorce.


Gaillard’s advice got me thinking about the future of our dog Muku. My husband and I share all expenses and don’t have any agreement if we break up.

But after hearing me talk about pet care over and over again, Takashi said he was looking forward to seeing the story with me this Saturday. I suspect one of his main reasons was to see Muku, who guest-starred in the work.

But I also hope that after he watches it, he will feel as motivated as I do to sign a pet deal.

Like most couples, we have no plans to break up. But after talking to so many people vying for pet custody, I feel it’s important to put it in writing that no matter what happens to us, we all agree that it’s in our best interest. Muku’s must come first.

‘Dog Fight’ airs on W5, Saturday, March 11 at 7pm on CTV

Source by [author_name]


News7h: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button