Divorced Couple Duke It Out Over Frozen Dog Sperm

Steele, however, told the Detroit Free Press that "I never had to make an argument quite like this."

"I had a genealogy tree, listing who had puppies, who provided the semen," she said. " It was a lot to take in."

In the end, Matthews referred the case to civil court because the argument was not part of any divorce proceedings and it is essentially a contract dispute.

"Really, they're asking to split up the assets of the business," she said. "I don't have jurisdiction to that."

The couple will also head to civil court over a separate motion filed Wednesday by Karen Scully requesting more than $25,000 in damages from what she said is lost income and non-refunded expenses relating to the operation of Newcastles Kennels.

Freezing Dog Sperm a Growing Practice

The practice of freezing sperm from quality sires has been a growing practice in the past 25 years.

Because breeders spend years and several generations of dogs breeding out undesirable health and temperament traits, semen from a quality sire can be extremely valuable, both in monetary and breeding terms, American Kennel Club spokeswoman Lisa Peterson told ABCNews.com.

"If there is a dog that is a proven sire that produces quality puppies ... then a sire's owner will collect the dog and save it for future use," she said.

And, in many cases, the sperm, which is collected by hand, will be saved for years, even decades for use with a compatible female that may not be born until years after the sire has died.

"The frozen sperm is a great tool," she said, adding that many breeders also use it in artificial insemination cases where the female lives thousands of miles away to save the trouble and expense of transporting the dog for traditional breeding.

As for Matthews, this is, perhaps unbelievably, her second case in which two exes were fighting over frozen dog sperm. In the first case, about three years ago, the couple wanted to include ownership of the sperm in their divorce agreement, she said. And those dogs were also Bullmastiffs.

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