The new Animal Welfare Law in Spain recognises animals as sentient beings rather than objects
Before ruling on the matter, the court heard that four years ago, the owner of the dog, a cross between a pit bull and a Belgian shepherd, asked his friend to take care of the pet as he was travelling abroad. Although at first the owner transferred money for the care and upkeep of the dog this eventually dried up and the communication ceased. Until, that is, the owner returned to Spain and demanded that his pet be returned to him.
The young woman had developed a strong bond with the dog over the years and refused to give him up.
On this matter, Judge Susana Fernández de la Parra has made history by denying the original owner custody on January 13, just eight days after the Animal Welfare reform came into force. The court ruled that removing the dog from his long-term caregiver would cause unnecessary suffering to the animal, as he has lived with her since he was a year old.
“My client and the dog, who live alone, are a family. The dog and my client were going to suffer,” said María Girona, lawyer for the woman who won the case, before praising the judge for setting such an important precedent.
Image: Guardia Civil
Source: Murcia Today