When couples divorce, their pets are viewed as property to be divvied up right along with other household items such as furniture and the like. With both divorce and pet ownership rates soaring, pet custody has become a stickier issue when couples decide to split. Recently, a black lab/German Shepherd mix named Pepper became the center of a custody dispute. In the throes of divorce, Pepper’s owners are in a tug-of-war over the family dog.
According to his estranged wife, a 50-year-old Carol Stream man kidnapped the dog he and his wife shared during the happier times of their marriage. The wife and her attorney claim the husband entered her residence, taking the family pet.
The husband denies such a claim, saying that last March, a feeling of “nostalgia” seized him, prompting him to drive along the street where his wife still lives when he saw Pepper frolicking in the snow unattended. Joyfully reunited, the estranged husband scooped him up and took the dog home.
In response, the wife obtained a Will County court order of protection barring her estranged husband from having contact with the dog. Pepper is now home with the wife, but her husband is not giving up. In a divorce that’s stretching into its second year, Pepper’s fate is the key sticking point for his former master.He claims that all he wants are visitation rights, but his wife sees it as just a ploy to prolong the case and drive up attorney costs and has no intention or granting his visitation wishes.
The couple’s divorce trial is set for August 7th. Pepper’s fate is in the judge’s hands.
Source: Chicago Sun Times, “Pepper the pooch is the focus of a divorce dispute”, by STEFANO ESPOSITO