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KCBS Animal Update: Dealing With A Pet Custody Battle

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Christine Ponelle plays with her dogs Cholla and Puma at Bernal Heights Park (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Christine Ponelle plays with her dogs Cholla and Puma at Bernal Heights Park (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Jeff Bell20100908_KCBS_0122r Jeff Bell
A Bay Area native, Jeff is thrilled to be at KCBS, a station he...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— What should one do if they’re involved with a custody battle involving a companion animal? Fights over Fido are never fun and Dr. Jennifer Scarlett with the SF SPCA said they actually get quite a few calls on this issue.

“We first recommend if there’s any way you can come up with a sharing system for your companion,” Dr. Scarlett said. If not, she said it may come down to whether or not you have evidence that you were associated with the animal in question.

Receipts, bills, adoption, food, and dog-walking bills can all be supportive in a custody battle.

Kids can be emotionally impacted in these types of battles so why shouldn’t cats and dogs? “Their home is their world and it’s breaking up for them. We see a lot of anxiety and trepidation on the part of the pets,” she said.

One of her recommendations includes (especially for dogs) whoever has custody should take their pet out for a long walk to decrease anxiety. With cats you should spend more time playing with them and giving them extra-special attention.

“If you’re adopting an animal with your partner sit down and have an agreement on if you were to split up,” Scarlett said.

You should discuss things like who would take on custody and if it will be sole or joint; who will be responsible over time, and whether or not you are going to be reimbursed.

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