RNC speaker Pam Bondi was once in a 16-month custody battle over a dog with Hurricane Katrina victims

  • Before she became Florida's attorney general and an aide for President Donald Trump, Pam Bondi was involved in a legal battle over a dog.
  • She adopted a St. Bernard that belonged to Hurricane Katrina victims, who sought to bring him back home.
  • Bondi refused to give up the dog, resulting in a 16-month custody battle. She ended up returning him to the family.
  • Bondi appeared on the second night of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday evening.
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Prior to entering politics, Pam Bondi was entangled in custody battle with Hurricane Katrina victims over a dog.

The 2005 hurricane pummeled New Orleans with massive flooding that destroyed homes, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and separating them from their pets, including one family's St. Bernard, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

The dog, named Master Tank, was rescued by Florida's Pinellas County Humane Society, where Bondi, then a prosecutor in the state, adopted him and renamed him Noah.

The Louisiana family, Steve and Dorreen Couture along with their two grandchildren, had been trying to bring Tank home and located his whereabouts in January 2006.

Bondi, however, refused to return him, and accused the Coutures of neglect because the dog had been facing longer-term problems like heartworms. "I took a dog who was a walking skeleton," she told St. Petersburg Times. "That's what was wrong with him before the hurricane."

"If I thought I was sending him to a stable environment, where he would be cared for, as hard as it would be, I'd put him in my car and drive him back myself," Bondi said at the time.

"I made a promise to him that I would protect him," she added.

But the Coutures pushed back, arguing the dog had had heartworms since he was 10 months old, and they were aware of the issue.

The family sued, and the saga lasted 16 months.

"It was a burden, it really was," Doreen Couture told the St. Petersburg Times. "Financially, emotionally, it was a really rough time."

Bondi settled the case before going to trial. The Coutures got Master Tank back and agreed to stay in touch and share photos. Bondi offered to visit occasionally, and provide food and medication for life.

But according to Doreen Couture, Bondi failed to keep her promise, and both sides stopped talking.

"Why should I?" Couture said in an interview to the St. Petersburg Times in 2010. "She stole my dog."

Bondi said she remained in contact with the family for less than a year. She eventually got a new St. Bernard.

"I've received a tremendous amount of support from people and animal rights activists, and no criticism at all," Bondi told the St. Petersburg Times. "Really, it has not been an issue."

Couture disagreed, telling the Times, "She has no compassion at all."

Bondi became attorney general of Florida in 2011 and recently worked an impeachment lawyer on behalf of President Donald Trump, her longtime ally.

She spoke on the second night of the Republican National Convention on Tuesday evening, blasting Trump's 2020 rival Joe Biden as "corrupt."

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