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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require judges to take the best interests of domestic pets into account when deciding who gets custody in a divorce.

Democratic state Rep. Charlene Lima told The Providence Journal ( ) on Tuesday that pets are a big part of people’s families, and a judge should make the best decision for the welfare of the animal.

Pets are considered property under the current Rhode Island divorce law. The newspaper reports that Alaska became the first state this year to add a law considering the interest of pets in divorces.

Lima sponsored a bill that was passed last year allowing Rhode Island restaurants with outdoor dining areas to accommodate patrons and their dogs.


Information from: The Providence Journal,