Pets: Property or family?

Pets: Property or family?

A New Jersey judge must rule on the ownership of a pug after its owners break up
source-image
Aug 28, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

A custody battle over a 6-year-old pug in New Jersey could have far reaching consequences to the veterinary profession. When Eric Dare and Doreen Houseman broke up three years ago, they couldn’t agree on who would keep Dexter. They split custody for a while, but eventually that amicable relationship soured and they took the case to court.

Judge John Tomasello awarded Dexter to Dare because he purchased the animal and paid the veterinary bills. “Dogs are chairs; they’re furniture; they’re automobiles, they’re pensions,” Tomasello said. “They’re not kids.”

Houseman appealed the ruling. In March, the appeals court ruled Tomasello “should not have treated Dexter like another piece of furniture” and should have considered the subjective value.

Tomasello ruled in August that Dexter was joint property because the couple lived together and cared for him together, but he has yet to decide who will keep the dog. He has asked for additional information from attorneys.

Hot topics on dvm360

Dog of Dallas Ebola patient will not be euthanized, authorities say

Health officials have quarantined and will monitor dog and amid concerns surrounding deadly virus.

Video: How to perform a belt-loop gastropexy

Prevent GDV in your at-risk patients with this simple technique.

Stretch your skills to earn more in veterinary practice

Finding new tasks could be the key to generating more income for your practice—and boosting your pay.

Veterinary community stunned by Sophia Yin's unexpected death

Prominent veterinary behaviorist died of suicide Sept. 28.

Study shows sustained salary slump for veterinary support staff

Since 2009, technicians paid by the hour have experienced a bump in pay, but pay for other team members has stayed stagnant, according to data from the 2014 Firstline Career Path Study. Here’s a look at changes in team pay from 2009 to 2013.