For the time being at least, Obie the (now famous) Obese Dachshund will stay with Nora Vanatta, the women who has been caring for the rotund canine since September and brought the dog's plight to the nation's attention. Now at the center of a custody battle between Vanatta and the Oregon Dachshund Rescue organization, Vanatta was in court Monday arguing for her right to keep the beefy pup.
As Oregon's FOX 12 reports, Oregon Dachshund Rescue claims Vanatta is exploiting Obie, whose battle with the bulge has inspired thousands of dollars in donations.
Vanatta says Obie was given up by his previous owners and, having come to the dog's rescue, she has earned the right to keep and continue to care for the dachshund.
The argument recently spiraled into a custody battle, with an Oregon court deciding Monday to send the two sides to an arbitrator in hopes of resolving the dispute, while allowing Obie to stay with Vanatta for the immediate future. If the arbitrator fails to help Vanatta and Oregon Dachshund Rescue reach a peaceful agreement, the two sides will proceed to trial.
According to FOX 12's report:
"There's nothing to indicate he belonged to anyone else. He was relinquished by the previous owner," [Vanatta] said.
"This is a dog that needed to have certain things done, see a specialist, see a cardiologist, not just lose pounds like any dog depending on how you feed it, but actually be treated for obesity condition," said Geordie Duckler, the lawyer for Oregon Dachshund Rescue. "Those things weren't happening."
As I noted last week on The Daily Weekly, it's rare for obese dachshunds to find themselves at the center of contentious custody battles, though the chances for such disputes increase greatly when the large dog in question because famous and starts bringing in significant financial donations.