It isn't just kids who get caught in the middle of bitter custody battles.
A pair of New Jersey exes have racked up $40,000 in legal fees as they battle for permanent custody of their pet pug, Dexter, reports the New York Post. Eric Dare, a New Jersey policeman, and Doreen Houseman, a customer-service manager, headed to Salem County Family Court on Wednesday for a third round of legal arguments.
Dare and Houseman ended their thirteen year relationship and engagement in 2006. Since then, the two have been in a tug of war over six-year-old Dexter. Dare, who was originally awarded custody, claims he let Houseman share the pooch with him when they split. Houseman, who had originally sued for custody, appealed the decision, claiming that Dare had given her the dog after they broke up.
Houseman won her appeal last March, when three appeals judges disagreed with Judge John Tomasello's original ruling, which compared Dexter to a piece of furniture. The decision set a new precedent: that pets have "special subjective" and "sentimental value," which should have been considered in the initial decision.
According to court papers, the appeals process got even more heated when lawyers for the Animal Defense League and Lawyers in Defense of Animals filed paperwork urging the court create a rule "that requires consideration of the best interest of the dog