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Animal Law

Judge in Dognapping Case Awards Canine Custody to Caretaker, Orders Original Owners to Pay $16K

Posted Apr 19, 2011 7:33 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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In the latest litigation treating a beloved pet almost as a human child, a judge in the United Kingdom asked to deal with a London dognapping case has awarded temporary custody of an approximately two-year-old Labrador to its caretaker of 18 months.

The court was asked to weigh in after Bella was stolen earlier this month, with the help of a pet detective, from a professional dog-walker employed by stockbroker Victoria Huxster, reports the Telegraph.

Huxster says she was given the dog when a former colleague and his bank executive wife couldn't cope with the then-puppy. They say the arrangement was only temporary and they retained ownership.

The judge ordered the couple not to attempt to kidnap Bella again and awarded court costs of approximately $16,000. A final custody hearing is scheduled to take place this summer.

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