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Bickering Over Cats and Dogs

Bickering Over Cats and Dogs

For many couples, their pets are their babies, so to speak. So it is no surprise that there is a high volume of divorce cases fighting over the custody of pets.

Justice Richard Danyliuk seems to have had enough of listening to divorcing parties bicker over pet custody based on his remarks in Henderson v Henderson2016 SKQB 282.

Justice Danyliuk began his decision with the simple statement: “after all is said and done, a dog is a dog. By law, it is property, a domesticated animal that is owned. At law, it enjoys no familial rights.” And concluded it with the comment that although he could “appreciate the importance these dogs have in the lives of these parties. Nevertheless, each party is legally bound to consider the foundational rules (not to mention common sense) when deciding how to conduct this litigation.”


 


In Henderson v Henderson, the divorcing couple had decided to forgo having children and instead adopted numerous pets. The couple had four very uniquely named cats: Rodent, Slimey, Oinky and Beaker. At trial, there was evidence adduced against the husband that he was in fact a cat person, despite being “improperly inattentive” to the cats.

The main dispute was not over the cats (the husband didn’t want them) but over the couple’s dogs. The husband was seeking visitation rights to the couple’s two dogs and wanted the matter determined on child custody principles. The judgment tells the harrowing story of how the couple acquired their three dogs Quill, Kenya and Willow (nicknamed “Willy”), as well as the tragic death of a fourth pet dog, Reign.

The decision details how the wife felt betrayed when the husband went to take one of the dogs on a walk and then refused to return him. Thankfully, after more than a month, the parties were able to work out the return of the dog amongst themselves.

The judge eventually decided to mandate that the dogs should stay where they were (with the wife) and urged the parties to use common sense and decency to uphold their informal visitation agreement. Hopefully, his numerous statements about court delays and the need to deal with actual child custody and serious family matters did not fall on deaf ears.

Source: Top 5 Most Ridiculous Divorce Cases | TheCourt.ca
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