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  • Jeremy Cohen

Boston Dog Lawyers Successfully Secures Precedent-Setting Decision in Pet Custody Case

Updated: Mar 14

Boston, MA — March 13, 2024 — Boston Dog Lawyers, a law office specializing in pet law has achieved an important victory in the case of Lyman v. Lanser. This marks a significant milestone in the recognition of pets as unique property with a special purpose. The decision, rendered by the Massachusetts Appeals Court sets a precedent for recognizing shared custody arrangements for pets in cases involving joint ownership. These disputes often arise among unmarried adults who cohabitate with a romantic partner and obtain a pet together only to see their relationship with each other end. What to do about the pet?

Teddy Bear - Lyman v. Lanser

In the Lyman case, the pet owner represented by Boston Dog Lawyers sought enforcement of an agreement with his former partner, to equally share possession of their beloved Pomeranian dog, Teddy Bear. The client has not seen Teddy Bear in 2-years since being ghosted by his ex. Despite the absence of substantial legal precedent, Boston Dog Lawyers successfully argued that pets, though legally considered property, possess distinct personalities, and hold significant emotional value to their owners, warranting special consideration under the law. In particular, when pet custody agreements are established—however informal (even through text messages and social media) — courts can now consider enforcing them.

"This decision is an important victory for our client other pet owners seeking to protect their rights to share and care for their pets. It is crucial that courts open their doors to hearing these disputes. We need to get away from the ‘grab and go’ mentality where people inaccurately still believe the adage that ‘possession is 9/10ths of the law,” said Jeremy M. Cohen, lead attorney at Boston Dog Lawyers. “We seek the consistent and modern legal treatment of pets and pet owners in the courts through the application of established law going back to the 1800s,” said associate Boston Dog Lawyer Robert D. Stewart.

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Boston Dog Lawyers has long been at the forefront of advocating for pet owner’s rights along with counseling pet businesses including dog trainers, groomers, boarding and daycare facilities and veterinarians.

For more information about Boston Dog Lawyers and their work, visit or email to


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