A Malaga family court has thrown out an application for the shared custody of two pets whose owners are in the process of getting divorced. The court has, however, agreed to establish visiting rights.
The couple had four pets and for the two years that they have been separated, two of the animals have been living with one of the spouses and two with the other, according to the sentence consulted by Europa Press, which still can be appealed.
The person who filed for divorce later proposed a system of visiting rights for the two dogs they were looking after. The other responded with a request for "equal periods of time, a month each", which would mean "shared custody", says the sentence.
The magistrate points out that even though they don't know "really who has the right of ownership of the animals in question", in any case it is "an ethical and moral matter that has become judicial" through new regulations.
The sentence says that the law of December 2021 concerning pets meant that "animals were no longer considered personal property" and that their rights and welfare had to be taken into account.
The magistrate states, therefore, that the case "cannot be resolved from the point of view of property rights", but "from the point of view of affection and the relationship the animals had with what until now has been their family".
However, the magistrate said that setting up a system of shared custody for the two animals that were with the partner who filed for divorce was not possible as, among other reasons, the local council in question "limits the number of pets to four and the petitioner already has four animals".
It also states that in general "the more animals there are in a property, the lower the quality of care given"; the court also took into account the fact that the situation of separation had already been going on for two years and the relationship between both parties.
Therefore the magistrate has rejected the shared custody application, but has established visiting rights, limited "to twice a week for two hours", adding that the two parties should meet in a public park for these visits.