ANN ARBOR, Michigan (WWJ) -- It's a custody battle unfolding over a therapy dog.

A Wines Elementary School teacher in Ann Arbor says she adopted a therapy dog for the school. Now, she's suing after she says they took the dog once she told them she'd be moving.

"It didn't feel fair to just say all of a sudden she wasn't my dog, after being told after two years she was," Alexandria Fata told us.

Back in 2021, Fata says her Wines Elementary principal questioned staff about who would be willing to adopt a dog that would be used for therapy dog purposes at the school.

She agreed once the pup went to therapy dog training. The following November, it was then given to Lexi. Months later, Gracie the bernedoodle was diagnosed with pancreatitis.

"And she had to be on prescription food, so at that point, I was buying and supplying that food to help her with her health," Fata said.

Until then, Lexie had received food donations from a local pet store. She says she tried to get a contract of some sort in action to clear things up but was always told by the principal that Gracie was hers.

"They provided me a pet fee at my apartment, but there was no stipend that was given. I was always told that the PTO and my principal would support me, but because I'm her owner, I'm responsible for the financial cost for her," Fata said.

We reached out to the Ann Arbor School District to get clarity on the issue and were told they don't comment on pending litigation.

"The principal of Wines told Lexi in writing the district does not own this dog, the school does not own this dog, you own Gracie, and he added on you have to pay for everything involved with Gracie that is not covered by donations," said Fata's attorney, Charlotte Croson.

Lexi alleges the therapy dog training didn't work on Gracie due to a shock collar being used. All the while, she kept bringing the dog into the classroom.

"It's a mystery to us why $15,000 of PTO funds were spent on a trainer who returned a dog that was poorly socialized and not trained as a therapy dog," Croson said.

According to court documents, this March Lexi told the principal she'd be moving out of the state at the end of the school year and planned to take Gracie with her. According to her, weeks later, Gracie was removed from her classroom.

It's the last time Fata's seen the pup.

"It didn't feel fair to just say she wasn't my dog all of a sudden, after being told she was for all of two years," Fata said.

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