A divorce settlement in China stalled after the couple were unable to agree on custody of their pet corgi has gone viral on mainland social media.
The couple, surnamed Xu and Li, from Quzhou city in Zhejiang, eastern China, agreed to get divorced in April this year. With the help of a local court, they reached agreement on the disposal of joint assets from their seven-year marriage, with one exception — custody of a pet corgi dog they had raised together.
The couple have no children, but both are enthusiastic animal lovers, video news sharing platform btime.com reported.
The court helped the couple divide up joint assets including property and vehicles quickly as neither party had any objections. However, when it came to their pet dog, the court was surprised that both demanded full custody of the animal.
The woman, Xu, told the court that she deserved ownership of the corgi. She said not only did she buy the dog, but that she raised it by herself. The corgi has become a part of her family and has been by her side ever since, she claimed.
She added that her ex-husband Li didn’t take responsibility for looking after the corgi. She described him as a workaholic, who in his spare time played video games.
Although Li acknowledged that he did not feed the animal as often as his ex-wife, or clean up after it, he said he often walked the dog and considered it to be his child.
The court accepted that the corgi was a joint asset in the marriage, but one which couldn’t be divided easily.
Eventually, the couple reached an agreement that the corgi would live with the woman, while every month Li should pay alimony to her for taking care of the dog. If the animal became ill, they must share the dog’s medical expenses. Li was given legal visitation rights to the corgi.
After the story was reported, it caused widespread online conversation about the fate of pets in a divorce.
One person commented: “A pet is a part of the family, it’s understandable the divorcing couple wanted to fight for it.”
Another said: “Now that more couples give up on having children, keeping pets as kids will probably rise.”
Last year, a Chinese couple decided to buy a car because they wanted to bring their dog along with them whenever they travel.
In 2019, a man in Jiangsu province in eastern China spent 35,000 yuan (S$ on building a fancy villa home for his husky.
Data showed that in 2021 the number of pet owners in China had reached 68.44 million, compared to 62.94 million in 2020 and 62.8 million in 2019.