More and more dogs are caught in the crossfire of their owners' divorce

Dog divorce
Divorcing couples are rowing as much about custody of the dog as they are children, experts say. Photo: PA

Divorcing couples are arguing over who gets the dog as much as they row over custody of the children, an animal charity has said.

The Dogs Trust found 30% of dog owners were thinking of taking out pre-nups for their pooch as divorce lawyers report they're seeing more arguments in court over man's best friend.

The charity also says that some owners end up with dogs they just can't care for, and in the past three years nearly 400 dogs have ended up in their rehoming centres due to a change in their owners relationship.

Terry Laffin
Terry cares for Phoebe, who ended up with the Dog's Trust after her owner's relationship broke down. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

Terry Laffin, who cares for animals on behalf of the Dog's Trust, told Daybreak the charity had found a "290% increase in dogs abandoned due to relationship breakdown" over the last few years.

Research from the Dogs Trust showed:

  • Over a quarter of dog owners (27%) who were already in a relationship said their four legged friend would be the most important thing for them to claim custody of should they split up.
  • One in five (20%) said deciding who gets the dog would be as stressful as who should get the children.
  • 30% said they would consider signing a legal document stating who got custody of the dogs if the relationship broke down.
Vanessa Lloyd-Platt
Financial constraints were forcing owners to give up their dogs, Vanessa Lloyd-Platt said. Credit: Daybreak/ITV

Leading divorce lawyer, Vanessa Lloyd-Platt told Daybreak dogs had long been the victims of acrimonious splits.

Money plaid a huge roll in the dog's future and couples found once they split they could no longer afford their pet.

There's financial reasons people can't afford to keep them anymore. We are having huge battles over this now because more men are working from home and saying, 'well look, I can look after the dogs as well when we break up'.

But when it comes to the finances how are they going to pay for it? If they can't agree who pays for it then they are abandoning the dogs.

This is what we are seeing and for the first time here we have the stats from the Dogs Trust that actually prove what we have been seeing is actually happening.

– Vanessa Lloyd-Platt