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Sunday, May 26, 2024 | Back issues
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Poetic Justice

Imagine 14 years of bitter litigation to determine your fate.

Imagine your fate being determined by poetry and passion.

Imagine former lovers - both of whom care for you passionately -- fighting to keep you.

Obviously, there needs to be a movie version of this dispute, which has been tied up in courts in Illinois since 2010.

You may now check your calendar. No, it's not quite 2024 yet (unless you've really put off reading this). But it might as well be because "the Stig," aka "the dog at issue," has been the object of a legal battle for two years now.

You can do the math. This is tragic.

The sad tale is contained in an Illinois appellate ruling called Koerner v. Nielsen in which we learn that the plaintiff gave the Stig to the defendant along with a poem saying it was a gift.

I have to pause here for a moment to note there are some serious problems with this court ruling - a decided lack of vital detail. Not only do we not know what kind of dog the Stig is, but we don't get to read the poem either.

The author of the ruling says it wasn't included in the record on appeal, but come on. What's the point of being a judge if you can't insist on seeing the juicy details? The public cries out for this sort of knowledge.

Are we talking sheepdog and sonnet or dachshund and limerick?

It makes a big difference -- especially if you're setting legal precedent.

And why was there no counsel for the Stig? As someone who is owned by three dogs, I know that the dog in question will have a very definite opinion about where it should be going. (This becomes particularly obvious when they're pulling in three different directions.)

We've come a long way in the battle for civil rights, but apparently not far enough. Someone needs to advocate for the best interests of the dogs.

Yes, dogs plural. The ruling glosses over this point, but there's another dog in the household: Jessie. How is this affecting the mental health of him or her or whatever it is? Why wasn't Jessie allowed to testify?

I'm hoping the details will be fleshed out when we get an Illinois Supreme Court ruling on this.

A couple of quick lessons to glean from this sad tale:

Poetry has power over the human soul. And it can be a binding contract.

If your girlfriend is a law student, be careful to get all agreements and property transfers in writing. It's still romantic if it's in verse.

A template if you're not feeling inspired:

My love, I bequeath you this hound

Rescued by me from the pound

He hasn't been lent,

There's donative intent

For lawsuits there can be no ground.

It's airtight.

It Figures: Having just written the above, I just had to look up "poetic justice."

Yes, there's a poeticjustice.com. See if you can guess what's on it before looking.

No, it's not a porn site (although that's a darn good guess).

It seems that if you're looking for poetic justice on the Internet, you probably want to know how to store beer.

Don't look at me.

Now try typing something into the search box on the website.

There are only ads on poeticjustice.com. Somehow, that seems poetic. Or depressing. I'm not sure which.

Poeticjustice.org, by the way, is for sale if you're feeling romantic.

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