Wednesday, October 4, 2023
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Wednesday, October 4, 2023 | Back issues
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Family Says Shelter Dog-Napped Their Cocker

(CN) - The owners of Beau, a pure bred Cocker Spaniel, say a veterinarian told them their beloved pet died following surgery when in fact he conspired with others to put the dog up for sale on the Internet.

In a lawsuit filed in the Fulton County Superior Court, plaintiffs Lee and Barbara Hornsby of West Virginia say that on July 10, 2014, they took Beau to the Cheat Lake Animal Hospital in Morgantown, W. Va., for orthopedic surgery.

They say they were initially told the surgery went well, but were later informed Beau wasn't responding well during recovery and ultimately died on July 12, 2014.

"Without justification or direction, Beau was allegedly sent to another business which allegedly cremated him before the Plaintiffs could arrive at the Vet's to say good bye to the allegedly dead family member," the complaint says.

The Hornsbys now claim this was all a lie, and that the animal hospital sent Beau to the defendant Life's Little Paws Cocker Spaniel Rescue (LLP) in Alpharetta, Ga., an entity that placed AKC registered pure bred does up for sale or "adoption," for which it also collects fees.

They say they know this because on September 20, 2014, they "observed Beau, in all particulars or identification" in advertisements placed by the defendant organization.

"Plaintiffs informed LLP and others of the wrongful possession of Beau and lawfully and sufficiently demanded return of their family member, Beau," the complaint says. "When this was denied, without grounds, the Plaintiff demanded o drive down to Atlanta and see Beau and this too was refused.

"Initially, the Plaintiffs were informed that Beau was already adopted by unidentified individuals, and then that he was merely up for adoption and, thus, not available to be seen or adopted by the Plaintiffs who also offered to purchase their dog," the complaint continues. " ... On information and belief following the demand for lawful possession, Plaintiffs' Beau was shipped to Ohio or Maine to get him out of the facilities suspected of harboring him."

The Hornsbys seek injunctive relief to give them an opportunity to positively identify Beau and confirm his welfare and care, the return of their dog, and compensatory, punitive, circumstantial, nominal and general damages on claims of fraudulent conversion, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, trover and replevy, and stubborn litigiousness.

They are represented by R. Edward Furr Jr., of Atlanta.

Life's Little Paws Cocker Spaniel Rescue did not respond to a request for comment.

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