adopt an animal

Statistically, the average relationship with a companion animal could last longer than a marriage or common-law relationship.

The Montreal SPCA is offering couples a contract which fills a gap in family law: animals are still considered as things, rather than sentient beings. As a result, it’s the spouse who acquired the animal who is entitled to claim ownership at the time of separation or divorce.

Courts do not take into account the animal’s interests or even their attachment to each partners, when ruling on custody.

A petition to have animals’ best interests considered in separation or divorce rulings

The Montreal SPCA is asking you to sign our petition addressed to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec, Simon Jolin-Barrette. This petition calls for necessary changes to be made to the Civil Code as part of the family law reform currently underway.

1,560 people have already taken action.

Goal to reach : 5000

According to statistics, one out of every two marriages ends in divorce

With the highest risk of break-up around the fourth year of the relationship. Furthermore, one-third of divorces in Canada occur within the first seven years of marriage and more than half of unions do not make it past the 12-year mark.

Additionally, the number of divorced people in Canada increased by 46% between 2000 and 2021.


A relationship with an animal: on average, longer lasting than a marriage

In contrast, domestic cats can be expected to live 15 years, while dogs live 11 years on average. This data means our relationships with our companion animals has the potential to last longer than our romantic partnership.

It is therefore important to plan how the custody of an animal will be decided in the event of a separation or divorce.

And since (almost) everyone breaks up, fill out an animal custody agreement as of now.

Several jurisdictions, including Switzerland, Spain and the U.S. states of New York, Maine, Illinois and Alaska, have enacted laws that require courts to consider animals’ best interests when ruling on their custody in separation or divorce proceedings. This is not yet the case in Quebec.

Indeed, even though the Civil Code of Quebec has recognized animals as sentient beings with biological needs since 2015, in separation or divorce cases, animals are subject to the same rules as movable property.

Join the #lastingrelationship movement

Designed as a gift in-kind by the advertising agency SidLee, the Montreal SPCA’s Lasting Relationship campaign can be seen on major streets in Montréal and social media. The SPCA is encouraging people to join the campaign by using the hashtag #lastingrelationship on social media platforms.

Questions and answers

Where can I get the contract?
If we don’t sign a contract, how will the custody of our companion animal be determined in case of separation or divorce?
What is the legal value of the contract?
Is this contract also suitable for common-law spouses?
What criteria does the contract use todetermine the custody of an animal?
Why are animals considered movable property in separation or divorce proceedings, when the Civil Code of Quebec has recognized their status as sentient beings?
How do I make an appointment to adopt?

Embarking in a relationship that lasts

People who wish to adopt an animal are invited to make an appointment to meet the animals awaiting adoption. New time slots are added daily. Other animals are also available through other shelters; visit petfinder.com for a list.