(Dead) Man’s Best Friend at Centre of Bitter Estate Fight
At Hull & Hull LLP, we have litigated many estate cases involving interesting ownership and custody disputes over various items. We have even litigated over custody to family pets.
In a recent headliner pet battle out of Memphis, Tennessee, a bitter custody fight occurred over a testator’s golden retriever. The battle began when the dog’s owner, Ronald Callan Jr., died of a gunshot wound on New Year’s Day, leaving behind no Will, a $2 million estate, and Golden Retriever Alex. In the ensuing estate fight among Callan’s survivors, various issues came into play, such as ownership of a boat and a $200,000.00 wine collection. However, custody over Alex became the focal point of the estate fight. The deceased’s father, mother, former girlfriend and fiancée all wanted custody of beloved Alex. However, the parties used the custody fight over Alex to punish each other for past transgressions. There were even allegations of attempted kidnappings. The battle became so intense that the golden retriever was actually assigned his own litigation guardian.
Apparently, after careful deliberation and based on the litigation guardian’s recommendations, a judge approved a consent order in early May. Custody of Alex is going to be shared by the deceased’s parents. As the parents are divorced, they will trade custody of Alex every two weeks. It is not clear what, if any, input Alex had with respect to the consent Order.
Have a great day!
Bianca La Neve