PORTLAND – The custody battle over an obese Dachshund from Oregon made famous on NBC's "Today Show" has ended after months of legal disputes.
The woman who originally took the dog in for temporary foster care is now officially his permanent owner.
Oregon Dachshund Rescue got the dog after it was donated by a Puyallup, Washington pet owner who had been unable to care for him. Then the pet agency placed Obie in Nora Vanatta's care, hoping she could help slim him down.
At first Oregon Dachshund Rescue supported Vanatta, even writing praises in their newsletter about her efforts to get the dog down to a healthier weight.
The dog was so overweight that photos of him spread virally and Vanatta started getting calls from news organizations who wanted to do stories about him. That included NBC's "Today Show," which flew Vanatta and Obie to New York for a live interview.
The rescue group was not comfortable with the exposure and accused Vanatta of exploiting the dog. They asked her to return Obie to them and when Vanatta refused, they filed a lawsuit against her.
Their lawyers accused Vanatta of using the “sensationalistic promotional value of his unusual obesity" and "earning money off of his public exhibition on national and regional television shows,” while not taking care of his condition.
Vanatta fought the lawsuit and both sides eventually reached a settlement after appearing in court.
As for Obie, Vanatta said he has lost 28 pounds since she took him in about six months ago.
Background: Bitter legal dispute over obese Dachshund