Obese dachshund named Obie the subject of custody dispute

After becoming one of the most recognizable faces in the pet obesity awareness campaign, an overweight dachshund named Obie has found himself at the center of a custody dispute, according to Oregon Live.

In August, Oregon Dachshund Rescue Inc. (ODR), run by President Jenell Rangan, found Obie a foster home with a former certified veterinary technician named Nora Vanatta. Obie had been removed from his previous home in which he was overfed to the point that he weighed 77 pounds. 

Since taking Obie into her home, Vanatta has put him on a publicly visible weight-loss plan that has helped him shed 15 pounds and endowed him with celebrity status. Obie and Vanatta have traveled to television appearances and given his fans complete access to his weight-loss efforts via his own Facebook page.

Although his foster care with Vanatta was welcome news to people who wanted to see Obie slim down, it has resulted in a custody battle where ODR has filed papers with the Washington County Circuit Court to get Obie back.

Vanatta told the media that ODR never gave her a firm deadline of when she would have to return Obie, and that she never signed any agreements, Oregon Live said. ODR claims that the agreement for Vanatta to care for Obie was only temporary until the organization could find a permanent home for him.

ODR is also accusing Vanatta of benefiting financially from Obie’s newfound fame, as well as jeopardizing his health to pursue opportunities to gain publicity. ODR’s allegations against Vanatta include that she is failing to provide adequate veterinary care for him, that she jeopardized his health by allowing him to travel in the cargo hold of a plane on the way to a television appearance, and that she has earned money from Obie’s fame and failed to spend it on improving his health, according to Oregon Live.

Vanatta refutes the allegations, although she does acknowledge that she put Obie in the cargo hold on a six-hour flight to New York.

The dispute will have its day in court on Oct. 29 when a judge will consider ODR’s arguments at a hearing.

Read more of the story at Oregon Live


Obie will stay with Vanatta until the court decides on who is his rightful owner, according to TODAY. Judge D. Charles Bailey was quoted as saying, "I'm not convinced that at this point in time this dog is any more ODR's than it is Ms. Vanatta's."

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