Stray Dog at the Center of a Custody Battle

Divorcing couple to share Lucky

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCWashington.com
    Lucky

    When married couples divorce, there's often a battle over who will have custody of the kids.

    But in Calvert County, Md., a divorcing couple wound up in a fight for custody of their dog, Lucky.

    They tried sharing the 16-pound Lhasa apso, but that didn't work, so the couple went to court to settle the dispute, and the judge's ruling is doggone unusual.

    Judge Graydon McKee III granted Craig and Gayle Myers joint custody of the dog. Craig will get her for six months a year. Gayle will get her for the other six months.

    Lucky the Dog Custody Ruling

    [DC] Lucky the Dog Custody Ruling
    A judge's awards a Calvert County, Md., couple joint custody of their dog as part of their divorce.

    Attorneys for the couple said the decision is highly unusual but puts the interests of the people and the pooch at the heart of the ruling.

    Gayle Myers' attorney, Jamie Maxwell, of Rockville, called Judge McKee a "judicial dog whisperer of sorts."

    "Makes it clear dogs are people, too," he said. "He addressed an issue such as divorce in a way that touched the hearts of people."

    Mark Carmean, Craig Myers' attorney, said it's a rare ruling.

    "I've never see it before," he said. "A dog is considered personal property. If a couple can't agree on who keeps him, the dog usually gets sold."

    Craig Myers said he's satisfied with sharing Lucky with his soon-to-be ex-wife. He said having Lucky six months out of the year is better than losing her altogether.

    "Usually you fight over a child," he said. "Lucky is our child."

    Gayle Myers has Lucky through December. She told News4 through an e-mail that it will be very hard to share Lucky.

    "I would have rather the Judge picked one of us to have Lucky even if it wasn’t me because it is very hard on Lucky to switch homes," she said in the e-mail. "Dogs can’t understand like children can when you say to them mommy and daddy just don’t get along, there is no way to communicate it to them. Lucky needs a solid routine for her best interests."

    Lawyers for the couple said they don't plan to appeal the judge's ruling.

    Craig Myers said he found Lucky two years ago under a trailer. She was dirty, her hair matted, and in bad health.

    Now she'll have two homes with two owners who may not love one another, but they do love her.

    "In this case, it worked out for everybody," Carmean said. "Lucky is lucky."