Alaska lawmaker introduces bill to address custody of pets after divorce

JUNEAU -- Pets could be considered marital property under a bill proposed in the state House.

The bill would give the court the authority to decide who gets to keep a pet when two people divorce, with consideration of what would be best for the animal.

Rep. Liz Vazquez introduced the bill, with bipartisan co-sponsorships.

The bill defines animal as vertebrates, such as dogs and cats, and specifically excludes fish.

It also would add a pet-related section to the rights of a victim of domestic violence, allowing that person to file a petition with the court to get custody of an animal living in the same household as the abuser and/or preventing the abuser from disposing of the animal.