Pets are treated as property in Wisconsin divorce cases. However, research continues to demonstrate that at least some animals have more complex emotions and intelligence. A recent study found that dogs may have emotions similar to humans http://news.yahoo.com/scans-reveal-striking-similarity-between-human-canine-minds-162147298.html. As a dog owner myself, this is not really surprising. However, those feelings are increasingly supported by scientific evidence.
Now, pets are considered property to be divided between spouses in a Wisconsin divorce case, no different than a couch or table. This treatment may be hard to understand because you, like most pet owners, view your pet as a member of the family. As the article mentions in passing, these studies will affect the treatment of family pets when families break up, through divorce or otherwise.
Efforts to draft a law providing for “custody “of pets, much like children, have so far been unsuccessful. I’ve drafted a few agreements allowing custody schedules for pets after the owners’ breakup. I foresee those agreements becoming more common as a result of studies like this one.