Family feud over pet custody leads to lawsuit

By David Yates | Jun 10, 2008

A run-of-the-mill family feud has spilled into the civil realm over custody of a pet.

Given power of attorney by his father, a disgruntled brother has filed suit against his sister. The issue: the sister allegedly made off with the father's dog, Little Vicky.

Seeking punitive and mental anguish damages, J.W. Rogers sued his dog-nabbing sister, Lauren Jean Freedman, on June 9.

On Father's Day six years ago, J.W. Rogers and his wife Debbie gave his father Victor Rogers a dog named "Little Vicky," according to the suit.

"Little Vicky became a loyal and trusted companion and informal therapy dog to Victor Rogers," the suit states. "Little Vicky routinely slept next to Victor Rogers or bedside. Little Vicky also became somewhat of a watch dog for the household at night."

In his suit, J.W. goes on to say Victor is an animal lover and Little Vicky was a source of happiness for him until his sister robbed her father's happiness when she came to visit him at his Beaumont home during the 2008 Passover holiday.

"When Defendant Freedman returned to California, she took Victor Rogers' dog with her without permission or approval," the suit says.

"In fact, perhaps knowing she was acting inappropriately, she simply left a voicemail for J.W. Rogers telling him she was taking Little Vicky. Little Vicky is greatly missed by Victor Rogers. J.W. Rogers has made numerous attempts to have the dog returned to his father, all to no avail."

J.W. says he is entitled to recover conversion, intentional infliction of emotional distress, actual damages and punitive damages from his sister for her wrongful behavior.

He is demanding a jury trial.

The suit was filed in the Jefferson County District Court by attorney Fred Coogan III of the Coogan & Associates law firm.

The case has been assigned to Judge Gary Sanderson, 60th Judicial District.

Case No. B181-889

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