Prepare for Pet Custody
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media release: 28 May, 2012
Prepare for Pet Custody
Couples should pre-determine who will obtain custody of their pets in the event of a separation, warns VetShopAustralia’s in-house Vet, Dr Mark Perissinotto. Pets are increasingly becoming embroiled in custody battles during relationship breakdowns, but Dr Perissinotto reminds Australians that pets are living beings, not property to be divided up between parties.
“Pets are generally considered valued members of the family. As a result of modern social developments, such as same-sex relationships or people choosing to remain single, pets are increasingly thought of as children by their devoted owners,” Dr Perissinotto said.
“The pet’s best interests should be considered, when making any major lifestyle decision –including divorce. Pets can become stressed and suffer separation-anxiety so it is imperative that couples are able to reach a mutual understanding about the pet’s welfare prior to communication breakdown.”
Dr Perissinotto urges pet owners to put the animal first when proactively deciding which partner will retain custody of the animal and to reflect on all aspects of pet ownership including:
- lifestyle choices, such as frequent travel
- working hours versus time at spent at home
- access to a suitably sized yard/ enclosure
- time allowances for walking your pet, grooming, conducting flea checks and so forth
- income for veterinary bills, preventative treatments for ticks etcetera, food, pet accessories such as leads, toys
- emotional attachment
- the needs and emotions of children involved
“Without due forethought about the most appropriate custodian of your pet, you are potentially putting them in an unstable situation where they may become extremely anxious,” Dr Perissinotto said.
“Partners should contemplate the worst case scenario because without fair deliberation your pet may then be left to an animal shelter, or worse, abandoned.”
Bringing the case before a judge may not resolve the issue either, as pets are deemed property under Australian law, so unlike a child, no joint-custody arrangements can be sanctioned by the courts.
Owning a pet entails great responsibility. By discussing ownership factors with your partner before attaining a pet, or as a precautionary measure in case of a relationship breakdown, you can minimise the stress and anxiety felt by both partners and the animal, if the circumstances change.
Media Contact: Jemma Lenton 07 5453 4840
Address: 5/42 Owen Creek RD. Forest Glen QLD
Go to the Dr Mark bio page for more information about Dr Mark Perissinotto.