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Pet custodyChild custody is no laughing matter. Then again, it can be argued that anything a person holds dear is no laughing matter to them. When it comes to pets, humans often let their guard down for the love of their animals. It has also become a common bonding point for people in relationships, or even in early marriages without kids, to get a pet. But the increase of puppies substituting children has given the rise to pet custody battles in today’s society. Spouses in divorces have been known to go to court and fight vehemently to win the rights of their pseudo-child. It’s no surprise that stories of the extremes will soon follow, like one such story that happened to surface in May of this year.

Broke for Knuckles

Craig Dershowitz and Sara Brega were a New York couple who bought Knuckles, a puggle (pug mixed with a beagle) puppy. When their 4 year relationship ended, however, they agreed to joint custody of Knuckles. It was decided that Brega would take possession of the dog while Dershowitz was looking for a new apartment.  In this time, Dershowitz claimed Brega and Knuckles “disappeared.” Hiring two private detectives, Dershowitz was able to track down Brega and the missing pooch to California, where she was currently living. The battle quickly escalated.

Filing a suit with a lawyer for “dognapping” Dershowitz has since spent $60,000 dollars in detective and legal fees trying to get Knuckles back. Brega has also filled out California court documents claiming legal custody of Knuckles. In the documents she claimed that Knuckles was “unconditionally gifted” to her by Dershowitz. After initially filing suit, Dershowitz got a default order to get the dog back. Since then Brega has hired her own lawyer to fight the injunction.

Free Knux!

Even after dropping $60,000 in the attempt to get Knuckles back, Dershowitz has not given up. He has since set up a website with options for donations to help continue to pay his legal fees. These can range from a “virtual smooch” from Knuckles, which requires a donation of $10, or a “Free Knux” t-shirt, which is $25. Donations and gifts can go all the way up to wardrobe styling, original art, or graffiti art from featured artists and designers. The highest donation is listed at $10,000. It is apparent that Dershowitz is serious about getting his puppy back. This is apparent not only from the court and legal costs he has already racked up, but from the amount of time and organization it must have taken to put what basically amounts to a charity organization with multiple participators. At last count he has raised $5,071, with a stated goal of 20,000.

Within every divorce proceeding there is the division of assets, which usually includes some type of custody settlement. But pet custody battles have been on the rise in recent years, and not just in legal marriages either.  In prior times pets were considered assets, and not as hotly contested as they have become in recent years. This has sparked a change in judges’ and court rulings when the custody of a pet is brought up and disputed during a divorce. The situation and the rulings are treated more and more like situations of child custody. As this trend continues it is important to know what rules and legalities pertain to these situations. At we understand the emotional heartache that goes along with divorce proceedings and any heated battle in the custody of a loved one, whether it is a child or a pet. Learn all the state specific rules and laws pertaining to your home state to be better prepare in the event of a divorce

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