Judge Orders Neighbors to Share Custody of Lab Mix

'Both parties have spent a great deal of time with the dog,' judge says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 14, 2018 5:51 PM CDT
Neighbors Get Joint Custody of Dog in Odd Legal Fight
A Labrador retriever mix is seen in this stock photo.   (Getty Images)

A rift between two former neighbors has resulted in them sharing custody of a Labrador retriever mix, the AP reports. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Tina Marie Walker and David Somerville lived next to each other in a Florida apartment complex when he drove her in 2016 to an animal shelter, where she adopted Elario. When she worked, Somerville would take the dog for walks and to the dog park. He says he paid the dog's vet bills.

That led to a rift over who really was the dog's owner and Somerville sued Walker in small claims court. Judge Lorraine Kelly ruled recently that they are to share custody and even drew up a schedule. Walker has moved from the apartment complex but now drops Elario off for his stays with Somerville. "Both parties have spent a great deal of time with the dog," Kelly writes in her order. "Witnesses say he shows great affection to both of his humans."

(More custody battle stories.)

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