Dareh Gregorian, NBC News Digital
A new law being unleashed in California on New Year's Day will give pets' rights some bite in court cases.
The measure provides judges with the power to consider what's in the best interests of the animal in divorce cases, instead of treating them the way they've been treated by courts in the past — as physical property
"I'm very excited," said David Favre, a professor who teaches animal law at Michigan State University College of Law. "It's important for humans and animals."
The law was sponsored by dog owner and state Assembly member Bill Quirk and signed by dog lover Gov. Jerry Brown (Lucy, a borgie, is the state's first dog and Cali, a bordoodle, is the first deputy dog). The measure empowers judges to consider "the care of the pet animal" and create shared custody agreements.