Allan Markin, chairman of one of Canada’s largest oil and gas producers and co-owner of the Calgary Flames, has won joint custody of a family dog in a $2-million court battle.

Mr. Markin went to court seeking a declaration that Molly, a nine-year-old Dalmatian, was his or that he should receive $2-million in damages if the dog remained with his estranged stepson Zakary Pashak.

Mr. Pashak said Molly was a birthday present when he was 13. Mr. Markin concedes that point but claims his stepson never looked after the dog, a claim the stepson disputes.

Yesterday, a Calgary court awarded joint custody, with Mr. Markin and Mr. Pashak taking Molly for two-week turns. Court of Queens Bench Master Lionel Alberstat said a trial is needed to determine ownership of Molly.

Ronald Foster, counsel for Mr. Markin, chairman of Canadian Natural Resources, said his client was “satisfied in the short-term” with shared custody. Mr. Markin had not decided whether he would seek a trial, he said.

Mr. Foster told the court Mr. Pashak’s removal of Molly was part of a larger dispute between Mr. Markin and his estranged wife, Jacqueline Flanagan, Mr. Pashak’s mother.

Ms. Flanagan began divorce proceedings to end her 15-year marriage to Mr. Markin on July 8.

Mr. Pashak, 22, told reporters yesterday his stepfather gave him the dog as a birthday present nine years ago. Mr. Pashak said he believed the court action was evidence of the same character traits that have brought Mr. Markin business success.

“Allan is going to fight for something. That’s how he’s been successful,” Mr. Pashak said.

Mr. Pashak said he had no idea whether the dispute over Molly is keeping Mr. Markin from his duties at Canadian Natural. Last week, the company said Mr. Markin requested a temporary leave of absence from his duties.

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