The legal regulation stating that animals are no longer allowed to be considered possessions was passed last October and now a court in Tarragona is the first in Spain to hold a custody hearing over a pet.
Leben is a seven-year-old Dogue de Bordeaux, rescued in 2014 by Jonas Amadeo Lucas and his ex-wife Elena Tova, who now owns previously shared animal shelter, El Hogar.
Leben has been living with Lucas since the divorce two years ago.
“From the start, Leben slept with me. Whenever I travelled for work, I made sure that all journeys were in the car so that I could take him with me,” said Lucas.
“She claims that Leben is her property but I say that he is my family.”
However Tova's lawyer claims that it would be a “theft” if Lucas were to gain custody of Leben, given that “the dog is registered in the name of the shelter and he is no longer an owner”.