In an interesting story from across the pond, the state of Alaska has apparently passed an amendment to its laws on divorce that will change the way pets are treated when their owners get divorced.

The Daily Mail reports that in all other states in the US, pets are treated as property when it comes to the dividing up a couple’s assets in a divorce situation. However, the new amendment will mean that when couples get divorced in Alaska, the custody of any pets they have will be determined in a similar way to that of any children of the relationship.

Judges hearing divorce cases in Alaska will no longer be able to view a pet as simply another piece of physical property, but instead will have to consider what future living arrangement will be in the animal’s best interests. The judge will have to determine whether its welfare will be best served by living permanently with just one of its former owners, or whether some sort of shared custody arrangement would be more beneficial.

In addition, in situations of domestic violence, the amendment will allow pets to be included in protective orders, and if the pet has to be removed because of cruelty or neglect, the owners will be required to pay for its shelter.

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