Dog-Sitter Castrated Champion, Owners Say

     LOS ANGELES (CN) - A woman agreed to dog-sit for a championship Samoyed worth $350,000, then castrated it without the owners' permission and refuses to give it back, the elderly owners claim in court.
     Cecile and Victor Stanton sued Beverly Jefferies in Superior Court.
     The Stantons' AKC-registered Grand Champion is named Polar Mist You Gotta Believe, but they call him Justin.
     "The dog Justin was a stud used for breeding and such was worth a great deal of money both in terms of any potential sale of him and also in terms of breeding fees," the Stantons say in their complaint. "At this time, the best estimate of its sales value at the time defendants took possession of Justin was at least $250,000 and the best estimate of its breeding value over the years was $100,000."
     The Stantons are both older than 65 and live outside of California; Jeffries lives in Pasadena, according to the complaint. The Stantons claim Jefferies agreed to care for Justin for a while at her house this year.
     "While in possession of Justin, sometime about April 2013, Beverly Jefferies surfaced her previously secret desire to keep Justin in violation of the agreement and in further violation of the agreement took him to a veterinarian and had him neutered without permission of the plaintiffs," the Stantons say in the complaint. "Thereafter, Beverly Jefferies has openly refused to return Justin to the plaintiffs despite repeated demands made in May and June 2013.
     "The plaintiffs, especially Cecile Stanton, have developed a strong personal relationship with Justin and always expected him to be returned promptly upon request. Because of the behavior of the defendants by neutering Justin and not returning him, the plaintiffs have been severely distressed, losing sleep, being frequently upset during the daytime, and generally worried that the irrational behavior of the defendants will cause further harm to Justin and cause further separation between Justin and the plaintiffs who dearly want him returned."
     A show record for Justin on www.infodog.com indicates that he placed first or won "Best of Breed" in 10 shows from 2007 through the end of 2010.
     The Stantons seek $350,000 for breach of contract, and $1.5 million in punitive damages for promissory fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress and elder abuse.
     They are represented by Gary Brown, of Pasadena.