A long-running custody dispute over two dogs lost in Hurricane Katrina ended Tuesday when the Florida women who adopted the animals after the storm agreed to give them back.

“This is what we wanted from the beginning, our dogs being back home,” Doreen Couture said at an emotional news conference.

Steve and Doreen Couture and their two children lived near New Orleans, when they dropped their dogs off at a temporary shelter before fleeing Katrina in 2005 and didn’t immediately reclaim them. In the chaos that followed, the animals – a St. Bernard and a shepherd mix – ended up at a shelter in Pinellas County, and were adopted.

The Coutures eventually learned of the dogs’ whereabouts and sued in court in Florida last year to have them returned. The new owners said they adopted the dogs in good faith and vowed to fight.

On Tuesday, Tampa prosecutor Pam Bondi, who adopted the St. Bernard and spent thousands of dollars nursing him back to health, said she decided to give him back after getting to know the Coutures and visiting them in Louisiana. The family lost most everything they had in the storm.

The dog, named Master Tank, was renamed Noah by Bondi.

“Master Tank/Noah will be going back to Louisiana, and thanks to these good people, I will be a big part of his life,” a tearful Bondi said. “I will get to visit him, he will come here to see me. We’ve developed a great relationship.”