Couple Wins Custody Of Dog They Adopted From Aruba

Lisa and Dan O'Connell say they found a dog in poor condition on a beach in Aruba, but another family claimed they were the real owners.

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The nine-month custody battle over Coco has come to an end... for now. Via NBC 10
The nine-month custody battle over Coco has come to an end... for now. Via NBC 10

When most people go to a Caribbean island, they come back with a souvenir T-shirt and some unfortunate tan lines. But before Lisa and Dan O’Connell finished their vacation in Aruba, they had adopted a dog — and started a legal battle that has stretched on for the past nine months.

The North Attleboro, Massachusetts, couple saw a dog wandering with another canine companion on a beach in Aruba, looking malnourished, its body marked with recent scars and covered in ticks, reports the Sun Chronicle. Lisa told the newspaper that she removed ticks until her “hands were bloody” and, when the dog was still on the beach two days later, the O’Connells took her to a veterinarian. When the couple learned that she could be sent to a kill shelter, they contacted the Animal Relief Foundation of Aruba to see if they could adopt her. They followed the procedures and the dog, which they named Coco, became part of their family.

However, after coming back home, the O’Connells were sued by Cornelia Hajdinyak and Howard Tromb, who claim they are the dog’s real owners and that the dog, which they call Whitey (or sometimes Pinky), was simply lost at the time she was seen on the beach.

A judge decided yesterday that the O’Connells can keep Coco, NBC 10 WJAR reports.

“The judge, in his ruling, found the plaintiffs at times, less than credible,” Lisa told the news station.

Hajdinyak and Tromb are expected to file an appeal.

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