Hal McKinney and Patti K. Stivers used to be a couple. Now they’re combatants in a custody dispute of canine ferocity.

Their lawsuit in state District Court in Santa Fe is about “property” valued at only $400. But it is living, panting property that brings an emotional attachment — a poodle-bichon frisé mix named Maddie II.

McKinney says he bought Maddie II from a breeder in March 2012 with money from an account he alone controlled. It was an important purchase for him. The dog replaced Maddie I, who was struck by a car while chasing a squirrel.



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