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A Spanish couple who recently separated took the matter over who will look after their dog to court.

A court in Madrid granted joint custody of a dog named Panda to the couple.

RTVE reports that Panda’s adoption contract, veterinary bills and photographs where “the three are seen as a family, exactly the same as if it were a family photo with children” were submitted as evidence.

The couple was able to bring their case to court because of the 1987 European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals which Span ratified in 2017.

The ruling was seen as a game-changer for Spanish law as the country is currently drafting new legislation so that any pet animals are no longer seen as objects, but rather as living beings.

The BBC reports that the judge ruled that the evidence in the proceedings reveals an affective relationship between the plaintiff and the dog that is worthy of legal guardianship”. Panda will now alternate between the two partners for a month at a time.

French law also allows couples to go to court over their animals as they are seen as living and feeling beings rather than mere objects.

Image credit: The Olive Press

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