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Ex-Couple Settles Dispute Over Dog In Manhattan Civil Court

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Gavel (file / credit: clipart.com)

Gavel (file / credit: clipart.com)

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NEW YORK (AP) — A former couple’s custody dispute over a dog has been happily resolved after a judge said leaving a pet with an ex for a couple of months doesn’t amount to giving up the animal, a lawyer said Thursday.

Adam Le Conte and Kyungmi Lee tussled in Manhattan Civil Court over where the 2-year-old Maltese, named Bubkas — and whether he ever belonged in a crate.

The case was “amicably settled,” said Lee’s lawyer, Ronny Buni, but he wouldn’t give details. Efforts to reach Le Conte’s lawyer weren’t immediately successful.

Le Conte’s parents gave him the dog while the couple lived together in 2009. After the two broke up in December 2010, Lee took care of Bubkas for about two months, including while Le Conte was traveling in August.

She sought to keep Bubkas, saying Le Conte had relinquished care of the dog and complaining that he used a crate, which some dog owners favor as a house-training tool but others find objectionable.

Le Conte sued, saying he’d never surrendered the dog.

Le Conte is “entitled to the return of his canine companion,” and Lee didn’t show the crate posed any danger to Bubkas, Justice Andrea Masley found in a ruling first reported Thursday by the New York Law Journal. But the judge, who had ordered the two to alternate care of the dog while the dispute played out, urged them to find a way to share time with the animal in the future.

Bubkas has fared fine amid the fight, Buni said.

“Everything turned out well for the dog, and everything turned out well for the parties, too, because they settled it in a way they’re both happy with,” the lawyer said.

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(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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