A dog fight over a favorite pet has soured a New York divorce case. James O'Hanlon and Susan McCarthy, the former couple behind the trendy Greenwich Village restaurant Agave, got more than they bargained for when O'Hanlon's sister asked a Brooklyn judge to make her the sole owner of the disputed goldendoodle - Lucy.
'I became surgically attached to the dog,' O'Hanlon's sister Margaret Healy told the Daily News. O’Hanlon claims she has cared for the dog for two years while her brother and soon-to-be ex-sister-in-law have been preoccupied battling it out in Nassau County Court.
But here's where it gets even more complicated. Healy's niece, 18-year-old Slaney O'Hanlon, now insists she is Lucy's rightful owner and that a chip implanted in the dog's hide proves it.
Slaney O'Hanlon claims that Margaret O'Hanlon only looked after Lucy when she was attending a Baltimore-area boarding school.
'It's just my father trying to get me in the middle of his divorce,' Slaney O'Hanlon told The Daily News. 'I just want my dog back.'
When O'Hanlon and McCarthy separated in 2009 Lucy, who was less than a year old, was given to Healy. Now she claims McCarthy and her niece tried to dognap Lucy from her Brooklyn Heights apartment building and even chased her in an SUV.
'I couldn't believe she followed me in the car," Healy told the Daily News. 'I almost fainted.'
The dognapping attempt prompted Healy to file papers in Brooklyn Supreme Court asking to be affirmed as Lucy's sole owner and to place a restraining order against her niece and McCarthy. She's also demanding $500,000 in damages.
Healy's lawyer, Thomas Chaves, told the Daily News that the issue will likely come down to "what the best interest of the dog is."