Pets are considered valuable members of many families, in Colombia there are 3.5 million households with pets and according to DANE statistics the population trend is to have fewer children and more pets. Specifically, Bogota, Medellin and Cali reported the highest pet ownership.
When a marital partnership dissolves, questions arise as to how pets are considered and how their custody and sharing should be addressed. In Colombia, strictly speaking, animals are considered movable property, and therefore must be considered as such in the marital partnership. Under Colombian law, pets are objects of property and are subject to the rules applicable to the division of assets upon dissolution of a marital partnership. Specifically, there are no regulations that provide for what to do with pets in the event of separation or divorce.
However, as RCN Radio points out, as a result of globalization and the evolution of society, new types of families have emerged, including the multispecies family, in which pets play a very important role and are treated as part of the family, generating emotional bonds. Therefore, Colombian law has recognized animals as sentient beings, and even in other legal systems they have been recognized as subjects of rights.
However, in case of disputes regarding pets once the marital partnership is dissolved, there should be a settlement between the parties without requiring the intervention of third parties. However, there have been cases in the country in which conciliation is used to agree on how each spouse will contribute to its care and possession, just as they would do with any other asset that is part of the marital partnership and is not subject to division. In these cases, it is possible to carry out the conciliation before notaries, family ombudsmen, conciliation centers and some legal offices of universities.
Some doctrinaires, such as Ballesteros Beltrán, consider that it is possible to resort to judicial pronouncement.
In Colombia there is a legal vacuum regarding the handling of pets once the marital partnership is dissolved, since in a strict sense, pets are still considered as assets and in view of the current view towards animals, it is necessary to establish mechanisms to seek concrete solutions in the event of divorce or separation.