Cry “Havoc!” And Let Slip the Dogs of War!

pet custody

Pet Custody

A custody battle can be a dog-eat-dog affair.  This is especially true when the battle is over the household pet.  Litigation over pets has seen a significant rise in the past couple of years.  Unfortunately, to the dismay of most litigants, pets are not viewed as members of the family but rather merely as property in most states.  Steven May recently wrote in “Who Gets Custody of Pets in A Divorce” that “[w]hile it’s safe to say that most “pet parents” would disagree and see their companions as true members of the family, that view has no standing in court.”

Delaware is no different.  Judge Jurden issued an opinion in March of 2013 resolving a “custody” dispute over a miniature daschund named Dennis Hopper.  In her opinion, Judge Jurden stated that “a dog is property, and does not hold “symbolic importance or value.”   She went on to add that the “Court appreciates the emotional strain this [type of] case presents…[but] [t]hat said, under Delaware law, Dennis has the same legal status as a piece of furniture.”



Article provided by Andrew W. Gonser, Gonser and Gonser Attorneys 

Gonser and Gonser Attorneys
Hagley Bldg., Suite 203
3411 Silverside Road
Wilmington, DE 19810
Phone (302) 478-4445
Fax: (302) 478-4432

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