LITTLE ROCK (CN) - A woman who says she rescued a coyote-dog hybrid sued an animal rescue group, claiming it swiped the animal from her so it can keep nearly $6,000 in online donations.
Joan Carder sued Rock City Rescue and its president Casey Carter , in Pulaski County Court on Friday, accusing them of using a bogus surrender form to claim ownership of the coyote-hybrid name Grace.
Carder says Rock City Rescue set up an online fundraiser without her knowledge and has collected almost $6,000 in donations on Grace's behalf, but "only a small portion of the funds have been spent for Grace's care."
"(T)his money is one of the primary motivating factors for RCR and Casey Carter to continue to argue that they have a legal right of ownership to Grace," she says in the complaint.
Carder says the coyote-hybrid will eat from her hand, walk on a leash, and lets her scratch her ears and rub under her neck. She says she is the animal's only regular visitor and that Rock City Rescue has "a vengeful desire to keep Joan from Grace."
Carder wants Grace sent to a nationally accredited sanctuary that accepts coyote-hybrids but "she cannot move forward with that option, or any other option, because RCR and Casey Carter refuse to give up their claim of ownership over Grace."
The controversy began when Carder discovered what she assumed was a wounded stray dog wandering her Little Rock neighborhood. She sought help for the animal just before Halloween, on social media pleas, by posting pictures, and asking neighbors.
Carder and a neighbor found the coyote-dog on Nov. 22, managed to get Grace into a crate and took her to an emergency animal hospital.
"Although Casey Carter talked by phone with Joan Carder on November 22, 2015, Casey Carter and Rock City Rescue were not present at any time during the efforts to catch the dog. Casey Carter stated she was not available to come to help transfer her to a dog crate. She also was not present at any point in time after she was taken to receive emergency medical attention," Carder says in the complaint.
It continues: "The dog was very frightened and weak. She was severely dehydrated, had sarcoptic mange, eye infections, open wounds, and her eyelids had folded over."
Carder says her neighbor's name appears on the animal hospital's paperwork because she arrived first. But Carder says she paid the medical bill and made the decision on the Do Not Resuscitate clause of Grace's admission document.
According to the intake form, attached as an exhibit in the complaint, Grace was listed as a mixed canine, though Carder indicated on the form that "people thought she was a coyote."
"More than one biologist" with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission assured Carder that the animal was a dog, but on Dec. 8, Rock City announced that Grace was a coyote based on a test "that it had secretly performed," according to the complaint.
Carder says that a comprehensive test, for which she paid, conducted by the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, shows that Grace is a coyote hybrid.