No, Your Dogs Aren't Your Children: Judge

Comparing custody of pets to butter knives, court rules dogs have no 'familial rights'
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2016 1:47 AM CST
Updated Dec 19, 2016 5:00 AM CST
No, Your Dogs Aren't Your Children: Judge
This photo taken Sept. 25, 2016, shows Bless, an American Pit Bull Terrier, being treated to a free grooming session at Pampered Pets in Montreal.   (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

You can coo at Sparky all you like and even dress him up as one of Santa's elves. But when it comes to the law, says a judge in Canada, Sparky is a dog, not your child. That ruling came as part of a pet "custody" battle in a divorce case. CBC News reports the wife wants the couple's two dogs, Kenya and Willow, to live with her. The husband (described by the wife as a "cat person") disagrees. So the matter ended up in the courtroom of Judge Richard Danyliuk, who in a ruling chides the couple for wasting "scarce judicial resources" and refuses to make any custody decision, reports the StarPhoenix of Saskatoon. Deciding where Kenya and Willow should live would be like arbitrating butter knives, he writes. "Am I to make an order that ... the other party have limited access to those knives for 1.5 hours per week to butter his or her toast?"

The judge goes on to detail several examples of why Fido lacks "familial rights," including these points: "In Canada, we tend not to purchase our children from breeders," and "when our children act improperly … we generally do not muzzle them or even put them to death for repeated transgressions." The 15-page ruling notes the couple's detailed history of pet ownership, including the wife's claim the husband was "improperly attentive" to his two cats, Slimey and Oinky. Sighs Danyliuk: "For present purposes, that information is not particularly helpful." For now, the dogs are staying with the wife's parents. In a Solomon-like move, Danyliuk warns that if the couple fails to settle the matter, the dogs might end up being "sold and the proceeds split." (Kicking a puppy cost this CEO $100,000.)

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