Overweight dog at center of custody lawsuit

Overweight dog at center of custody lawsuit
Obie and his caretaker, Nora Vanatta. (KATU photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. – A 70 pound dachshund is at the center of a custody battle.

Obie the obese dog captured national attention as his caretaker, Nora Vanatta, put him on a diet.

Vanatta said Oregon Dachshund Rescue owner Jenell Rangan filed a lawsuit this week, claiming Obie belongs to her.

“They say I’m exploiting him,” said Vanatta. “They say I’m misusing his funds and they claim he belongs to them.”

Vanatta said Obie is getting healthier, having lost 15 pounds in the last two months. She's collected thousands of dollars in donations for Obie from supporters, and said the money is being used for his care.

Vanatta believes everything that’s happened to Obie in the past two months is only beneficial.

“He’s famous and he’s touched so many people and I think they regret not taking him on in the first place,” Vanatta said.

Oregon Dachshund Rescue originally heard the dog was in need of a home and put out an online plea for help. Vanatta offered to help soon after and an Oregon Dachshund Rescue volunteer picked up Obie from his former owners’ home and delivered him to Vanatta.

Vanatta told KATU News there was never any paperwork or verbal agreement exchanged between the two parties about Obie’s ownership. She said she doesn't believe Obie is now hers, but she doesn't think Oregon Dachshund Rescue has a claim to him either.

Jenell Rangan did not agree to a formal interview with KATU News, but said she believes Obie belongs to her and Vanatta is not providing good care.

All parties are expected to appear in court Monday morning.

“I just want what’s best for him,” Vanatta said. “And he’s doing well here. It just doesn’t make sense to take him away now.”