Heated custody battle over Chihuahua

April 9, 2009 5:10:34 AM PDT
A tiny dog is causing a big family feud. A mother and daughter are in the middle of a custody battle in Galveston County over a two-year-old Chihuahua. Both say the dog should belong to them. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The daughter calls this a big mistake, saying it all started with a night of partying and ended with her signing over the Chihuahua to her mother.

The mother on the other hand says that's not the way it goes. Either way, the matter is now in front of a Texas City Justice of the Peace.

The dog's name is Noonie and he's the pint-sized focus of the custody battle raging in a Texas City courtroom. The problem started back in October in what Kimberly Alleman describes as a long night of drinking.

"Me and my mother went out one day and got really intoxicated and we wrote up a contract for the dog that I would sell her the dog," said Alleman.

Eyewitness News obtained a copy of the contract. It reads, "Kimberly Alleman sold Noonie to Sandra LaCaze on 10-10-08." It goes on to say, "Kimberly Alleman will have visitation every other weekend no exception or when the kids are with me."

On the contract, Alleman's mom, Sandra LaCaze first signed her name "Janet Brown," crossed it out and resigned with her real name. LaCaze says the decision wasn't made under the influence.

"She said, 'Mom if you want Noonie, if you'll give me the $400, I'll sell him to you," said LaCaze.

LaCaze got the money from a friend and says they signed what she calls not a contract, but a receipt.

"We were not drunk and I know she tells everybody we were, but we were not drunk," said LaCaze.

Alleman filed suit back in October, asking the court to give Noonie back. She missed the first hearing because she says she never received notice. At that hearing, LaCaze was awarded possession of Noonie.

The next week, the justice issued a temporary order giving LaCaze possession, but giving Alleman visitation. However, mother and daughter couldn't work it out.

"I offered to let them come over here and see Noonie any time they want to, but they don't seem to want to do that," said LaCaze.

"She's not willing to work this out. She let the judge know that," said Alleman.

So back to court they went and on Tuesday, the justice ordered mediation. No one is optimistic about making the situation work.

"I have no faith in the court system because I was supposed to get the dog back yesterday," said Alleman.

The Justice of the Peace told us that he will make a final decision on April 28 and someone will get possession of Noonie, with no visitation. LaCaze told us that if she loses the dog, she plans to appeal.

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