(CN) – A website designed to “stop” a breeder of Chinese Crested show dogs also bred a lawsuit that belongs in Missouri courts, the state appeals court ruled. “If you pick a fight in Missouri, you can reasonably expect to settle it here,” Judge Daniel Scott wrote.
Whispering Lane Kennel in Ava, Mo. has won several awards, including Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York City.
The kennel sued Karen Fischer-Smith and Patricia Hall over the contents of their website, stop-whisperinglane.com, which included: “Missouri has the most lax laws when it comes to the safety and concern of animals being housed and kept for breeding. This is why Missouri is known as the puppy mill capital of the world.”
The site also stated, “Because there are not enough state inspectors, many breeders are able to breed and raise dogs in filthy, disgusting conditions.”
The website drew 2,500 hits in a year, at least 1 percent of which came from Missouri.
Fischer-Smith lives in Arizona, while Hall is from Pennsylvania. They claimed the Missouri courts lacked jurisdiction. The trial court agreed and dismissed the case.
But the appeals court reversed the decision, ruling that the defendants presented enough business contacts to establish jurisdiction in Missouri.
Judge Scott reinstated the libel claims and sent the case back to the trial court.