St. Louis Dog's Custody Battle Has Surprisingly Heartwarming Ending


Molly the dog with her two owners. She's returning to St. Louis today with Jason Senseney, right. - SCREENSHOT VIA FOX31
  • Screenshot via Fox31
  • Molly the dog with her two owners. She's returning to St. Louis today with Jason Senseney, right.

After five days in Denver, Jason Senseney was willing to do just about anything to bring his dog Molly back home to St. Louis. And today, that's exactly what's he's doing.

As we reported earlier this week, Molly, a German shepherd/lab mix, jumped the fence at Senseney's south St. Louis home five years ago, disappearing from the man who had loved her since puppyhood. Molly was chipped, but as months turned to years, Senseney feared the worst.

This past Saturday, however, Senseney got the best news he could have hoped for: Molly was alive. And, for some reason, she was in Denver.

Senseney immediately drove to Denver Sunday, only to find himself embroiled in a custody battle. As it turns out, Molly had a second owner — a man who had found her in St. Louis all those years ago, then moved to Colorado.

Both men had evidence they'd owned Molly. Both had vet records. The shelter spent days "evaluating the issue," even as Senseney grew increasingly frustrated. He'd chipped Molly, after all, and this "new" owner hadn't bothered to check for the chip.

Senseney got in touch with a lawyer. On Wednesday, KSDK (Channel 5) reported that he'd delivered an ultimatum to the shelter: Return Molly, or he'd take the matter to federal court.

In the end, the lawsuit wasn't necessary. A few hours after delivering the threat, Senseney was outside the shelter petting Molly. The other owner, a man who gave his name only as Rob, had withdrawn his ownership claim. Rob was there too, petting Molly and preparing to say goodbye.

"It's crazy how everything worked out," Senseney told local TV reporter from Fox31 during a livestream outside the shelter.

Senseney held a bag of dog food in one hand. In the other, he held Molly's leash as the rambunctious eleven-year-old jumped and panted while happily accepting scratches on her head and belly.

What changed? Molly's competing owners finally talked to each other — and they both realized that they'd made faulty assumptions. On the Fox31 livestream, Rob explained that when he'd found Molly five years ago, he noticed an injury to her neck. He didn't know the injury was from another dog.

"The only reason I never looked for a previous owner was I thought she was being abused," Rob said, petting the dog he'd named Luna Moon. He nodded toward Senseney. "Meeting him today and seeing him having the same watery eyes that I had, that he's a good dude, I knew he was telling the truth."

Rob then looked down at Molly. "And I know he'll be good to you."

Senseney also admitted that he'd thought the worst of Rob for not checking her chip in St. Louis. Now, Senseney says he wants Rob to visit Molly/Luna whenever he wants.

On the video above, both men reflect on the strange journey that brought them together — and the dog they both love.

"She's been a family to both of us," Rob says.

Jason agrees. "We're not going to take that away from her."

Reached via Facebook late last night, Senseney tells RFT that he initially offered to buy Molly back, but Rob refused to take any money.

Senseney plans to make the 850-mile drive back to St. Louis later today. This time, he'll have his dog along for the ride.

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at

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