The Dog “Custody” Case

“Court Case Friday”

One of our new judges was assigned to preside over a dog “custody” case.

A couple had divorced. Afterward, they each filed a civil court lawsuit seeking sole custody of their pet Rottweiler.

The hearing in front of the new judge lasted a couple of days.  On the second day, I approached the judge.

Me: “What are you doing?”
Him: “What do you mean?”
Me: “You are complicating a very simple case.”
Him: “How so?”
Me: “Under current law, a pet dog is chattel.  It is a piece of property. It is not a child.  In divorce cases, when a couple cannot agree on the distribution of a piece of property, the item is sold, and each party gets half of the proceeds.”

Suddenly, the “light bulb went off.” The judge had an “aha” moment.

When the judge resumed the hearing, he explained the law of chattel and personal property.

He gave the couple an option.  They either agreed to joint custody of the pet, or else the judge would order the Rottweiler sold, and the proceeds would be split.

The couple quickly settled the case and agreed on joint custody.”



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