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So wait - you’re saying I can’t rest my laptop on my dog’s back when I’m trying to get work done?

dogCustody.jpgA bill has been introduced in the Wisconsin legislature that provides details of how, exactly, a couple getting divorced should handle a custody battle. But not a custody battle over their kids - naaah, that’d be silly. We’re talking about pet custody here, people:

The bill would let couples specify, among other things, visitation rights and the right to move the animal out of state. If the feuding couple can’t agree on what to do with the pet, the solution is simple: A judge can either pick a spouse — or ship it off to a local humane society or shelter.
Whoever gets there first owns the dog, cat or even goldfish. If they wait too long, someone else could adopt their beloved animal or, depending on the shelter’s policies, it could be euthanized.

Wait, what? So if the couple can’t settle the matter on their own, and the judge doesn’t want to take sides, the poor animal gets shipped off to a shelter where its odds are, sadly, against it finding a new home?

A Republican state senator says that this is intended to remedy the fact that courts typically treat pets like property, ignoring the fact that there are emotional ties to the pets because, after all, “a dog is not a desk.” Fine, that’s all well and good. But how is sending a pet off to possibly be euthanized better than treating pets like property? In fact, as the article goes on to explain:

States traditionally consider animals to be property, so whichever spouse can establish ownership is granted custody. If ownership cannot be established, judges often try to figure out which person is the better caretaker and give the animal to him or her.

So basically, the only thing this bill really adds is that if the fight gets to the judge, there’s a new option of shipping the pet off to a shelter. I love lawmakers.