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Court Grants Joint Custody Of Dog In 'Pioneering Ruling'

During a divorce, there are many aspects of a couple's lives that have to be divided up. From their residence to a prized piece of furniture to, of course, any children they might share, everything must be accounted for.

This month a court in Madrid, Spain gave out a "pioneering ruling" and granted joint custody of a dog, Panda, to the dog's two owners after they parted ways.

Lola García, from the Law & Animals law firm, who brought this case to court said one of the reasons the case was noteworthy was the court's recognition of her client as "co-responsible" and as a "co-carer" rather than a "co-owner" of the pup, according to the BBC.

She was able to do this, The Washington Post reported, because she used the 1987 European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, ratified in 2017, as an argument to advocate for her client's rights to the dog.

"What is novel is to be able to use the convention to avoid having to define the pet as a shared thing or property and instead to focus on the animal's welfare, the emotional bond and the shared responsibility of taking care of an animal, beyond the pet being considered a property," she told The Post.

The lawsuit was filed over a year ago though the decision was made just this month and passed onto both parties last week.

As a result of the ruling, each partner will now spend a month at a time with Panda and share veterinary bills and other expenses, García told The Post.

Various states across the U.S. Have laws that ask courts to consider the best interest of pets during a divorce proceeding, not dissimilar to what happens with children.

"We applaud the court's ruling recognizing that companion animals are independent members of our families, not mere property," Cristina Stella, managing attorney at the Animal Legal Defense Fund told Newsweek in an email. "The Animal Legal Defense Fund routinely advocates for similar court decisions in divorce cases in the United States and also for state laws, like New York's, that require courts to consider animals' interests in awarding custody. These laws properly recognize that animals are their own beings with their own interests, which deserve full consideration during relationship dissolutions."

In a rare case, a court in Madrid granted a separated couple joint custody of their dog, Panda. This stock photo shows a dog laying on its owner's lap. SeventyFour/Getty Images

New York became one of those states just this week when Governor Kathy Hochul signed a new law that will require courts in New York to take the same considerations.

"For many families, pets are the equivalent of children and must be granted more consideration by courts to ensure that they will be properly cared for after a divorce," lawmakers wrote in a bill memo when the measure was first introduced earlier this year, Spectrum News reported.

Alaska became the first state to enact such a law in 2017, Spectrum said.

García told The Post that she expected rulings like Panda's to become more frequent.

Newsweek reached out to the Animal Legal Defense Fund for comment.


Homeless Iraq War Vet's Service Dog Killed After Arrest For Panhandling

Gastonia, North Carolina police allegedly used a taser on homeless veteran Joshua Rohrer's service dog while arresting him on charges of panhandling on October 13. This photo shows a different service dog being trained in Nesconset, New York on June 10, 2019. © JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Gastonia, North Carolina police allegedly used a taser on homeless veteran Joshua Rohrer's service dog while arresting him on charges of panhandling on October 13. This photo shows a different service dog being trained in Nesconset, New York on June 10, 2019.

A homeless Iraq War veteran's service dog was allegedly tased by police while her owner was being arrested for panhandling, leading to a series of events that ended in the dog's death.

Gastonia, North Carolina police officers encountered veteran Joshua Rohrer and his dog Sunshine, who was trained to help him cope with post-traumatic stress disorder caused by his time in the Army National Guard, after responding to a call about alleged panhandling.

Witnesses told Charlotte news station WCNC that they saw police officers get physical with Rohrer soon after they arrived at a median on October 13 where the veteran and his dog had been sitting.

"The officer asked him for his ID," witness Justyn Huffman said. "He wasn't moving fast enough so he tried to reach into his pocket to get his ID. They slammed him up against the car. They put cuffs on him."

Huffman and two other witnesses said that Sunshine sprung to action and bit one of the officer's boots. An officer allegedly fired a stun gun at Sunshine, striking the dog and causing her to run away with one of the prongs still hanging off her body.

"We're out here screaming, 'Don't shoot the dog! Don't shoot the dog!'" said Huffman. "[Rohrer] said, 'My dog! My dog!'...They took him to the back of the police car and slammed him on the pavement."

Police released audio from the 911 call that led to the encounter. In the call, a woman can be heard asking a dispatcher if it's "legal for [an] adult to be standing on the intersection with a dog asking for money," complaining that the situation was "bullcrap" and accusing Rohrer of "using the dog to get money."

Rohrer, who served in Iraq and Kuwait from 2004 to 2005, told Military Times that he had not been panhandling but had accepted money that someone gave him without him asking for it. He said that the police then "aggressively" confronted and arrested him.

"I was just standing there, waving at people, when this lady waved me over and offered me money," Rohrer said. "I was accused of falsely using my dog to get money from people and asking people for money but that's not true."

Rohrer was charged with panhandling and resisting arrest. Rohrer's Veterans Affairs advocate Dave Dowell managed to track down Sunshine while her owner was in jail. However, the dog escaped from Dowell soon after, running away a second time.

Rohrer was released from jail the following day and began an extensive search for his service dog. After about two days, he made the horrifying discovery that Sunshine had been struck by a car and killed. Dowell told Military Times that the news made Rohrer despondent and suicidal.

"She was just doing her job," Rohrer said of the way police handled Sunshine. "The cops started yelling at her and me, telling me to get her to settle down but they wouldn't allow me to physically get control of her...They laughed at me...I begged them to bring her to me or to give her to an officer to take with them but they wouldn't listen, they didn't care."

"I cannot function without a service dog and they stole that from me," he added. "I don't know how I'm going to recover from this."

Newsweek reached out to the Gastonia Police Department for comment.

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Watch This Dog's Sassy Reaction After Their Owner Ignores A Kiss In LOL-Worthy Video

dog's sassy reaction after their owner ignores his kiss

Courtesy of peachesnbean / TikTok

Think again before you ignore your pup's effort at affection, or else you could be facing something like this dog's sassy reaction.

TikTok user peachesnbean captured her dog's hilarious reaction in a video she posted over the weekend. So far, it's gained more than 28.3 million views, which is many.

In the video, our human friend is laying down with her dog, a springer spaniel and Shiba Inu mix, looking over her. The pooch leans down and gives the woman a nice lick on the cheek, which causes the human to recoil.

Well, that wasn't nice. It earns a stern look from the dog, but that's not enough. The Springer Inu (Shiba spaniel?) then smacks their human with one of her paws, more than enough retribution for the spurned kiss. It causes the woman—and us—to burst out laughing.

RELATED: Watch Goldendoodle Millie Hysterically Ignore Her Mom's Pleas to Get Off the Kitchen Table

The video was popular enough to earn a sequel, the same footage with the ever-popular "you're done, you're done" audio accompanying it. That video has almost reached 1 million views.

So let this be a lesson: Nothing less than a response of equal affection will suffice when your dog decides to give you a kiss or cuddle. Otherwise, you might be looking at a swift retaliatory paw or an indoor potty break.

If it gets that far, you'll need a decent apology gift that you can find right here.



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