Why don’t they treat children like dogs?
Judge tells feuding couple to share custody of dogs
By Edward Gay
5:30 AM Saturday May 28, 2011
Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock
A prominent political figure and his ex-wife have been told they must share the custody of their two dogs after a long-running dispute in the Family Court.
Strict suppression orders surround the case, which includes an allegation of dog-napping on the street of a plush Auckland suburb in November 2010.
The ex-wife – to be referred to as D – saw her ex-husband’s new partner walking the dogs and is alleged to have unclipped one of the animals from its lead and put it in a car.
D told the court in April she told her ex’s new partner: “You have my husband, you cannot have my dogs.”
Her ex-husband – referred to as C – sought the court’s intervention.
Judge David Burns issued his reserved decision yesterday.
He said he had not been asked to make a long-term arrangement but in the short term the couple had to share the dogs.
“Neither party seems to me to have any greater claim to the dogs than the other.”
Judge Burns directed that the dog which was allegedly snatched off the street should be returned to C.
“This is to be done by [D] delivering [the dog] to the groomer which both parties use and the groomer is then to deliver the dog to [C]’s care.”
He ordered that the dog stay with D for three months to make up for the “unilateral action” of C taking it.
He said that at the end of the three months, the dogs are to be looked after by C and D on a month-by-month basis.
“The changeovers to occur through the parties’ groomer so the party who has the dog is to deliver the dog in the morning to the groomer and the groomer is then to … deliver the dog to the other party …”
Judge Burns said he found that both C and D “profess a great love for their dogs”.
At the April hearing D told the court: “My dogs are my babies.” Her ex-husband said the dogs were part of his family.
Judge Burns also noted that the dogs provided companionship to each other. “I therefore … find that the dogs should not be split.”
He ordered legal costs to “lie where they fall”. Both C and D were represented by Queen’s Counsel.
By Edward Gay | Email Edward