Pet expert raises 'pre-pup' issue as Ant McPartlin's custody row over dog is revealed
Following reports that Ant McPartlin and wife Lisa Armstrong are set to do battle over their beloved dog Hurley, a pet expert has expressed concerns over the welfare of dogs in such situations and has given advice on how to avoid it.
The expert has also drawn attention to the pre-pup; a legal agreement for a couple which helps arrange custody of a family pet.
Dr Maeve Moorcroft, Head of Pets at Pets at Home, believes that the split will have almost as big an impact on the dog as it does on the couple involved in the divorce. There’s also the added pain of deciding on custody of a four legged family member, that can bring additional heartache to a couple who are already in an incredibly stressful situation.
Dogs are very dependent animals and being separated from one half of a pair who they are used to spending all of their time with can be very distressing. Emotional tension between a couple who the dog loves and changes to their routine may also cause disorientation.
The dog may also have to move home as part of the divorce and this change of location could be frustrating, as the territorial canine has had to leave the house they know and love behind.
For the owners, spending time away from the dog can likewise be upsetting, especially if they’re used to being around them whenever they’re at home.
One way to try and negate some elements of this situation is to draw up a pre-pup – a pre-nuptial style agreement between the couple – that details exactly how the dog will be cared for should there ever be a split or divorce. Without such an agreement, the dog is sadly handled by a court as a marital asset and will be awarded to whichever partner can prove they legally paid for the animal.
Dr Maeve Moorcroft, Head of Pets at Pets at Home, has provided her tips for couples in similar situations to Ant and Lisa.
1. Try and maintain the dog’s usual routine as much as possible
2. Look to split the dog’s time equally between two homes and make sure that the animal has regular contact with both former partners so that a close relationship is maintained
3. Should an arrangement be impossible because of friction between the couple, consider arranging for the dog to move in with a relative for a brief period so that the four legged friend is away from emotional tension
4. Be patient with your dog as their behaviour may change for a brief period while they adapt to the situation
5. Put the needs of the dog first when negotiating the split; the love a former spouse has for a pet may seem like an easy way to score points, but the emotional wellbeing of the dog must come before this.