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Judge upholds ruling on dispute over cat

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin couple’s bitter cat fight over their beloved pet came to an end Thursday after a judge upheld a ruling on who owns a cat named Dexter.

At least for now.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld a Dodge County circuit judge ruling that Dexter the cat belongs to Roger Kueffer of Columbus and not his ex-girlfriend, Julee Lawler of Watertown.

The appeals court said Lawler, who acquired Dexter in May 2002, had wanted the cat back since the couple broke up in August 2008. Lawler and Kueffer dated on and off for eight years.

Lawler said Kueffer took Dexter from her home without her permission in March 2006. Kueffer would keep Dexter for the next several years, even as the couple dated. He claimed Lawler gave him the cat as a birthday gift when their relationship ended. They later bickered over vet bills.

In January 2009, Kueffer told Lawler that Dexter had died. She found out more than a year later that this was not true.

Lawler filed a lawsuit in small claims court in February 2011 against Kueffer and Rebecca Schoessow of Portage, who was dating Kueffer at the time. Dexter the cat lived with Schoessow for a short time. Kueffer and Schoessow have since broken up.

The lower court ruled that Lawler had given Dexter to Kueffer and that she had visited his home on several occasions and never involved authorities in efforts to retrieve the cat.

The appeals court upheld that decision.

It’s unclear if Lawler will appeal the ruling. Lawler’s attorney did not immediately return a message Thursday morning. Kueffer did not have an attorney listed and a home number was also not listed.

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