File photo. (Pixabay)

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

A B.C. woman has been ordered to return a dog back to her ex-boyfriend after the sharing agreement between the two broke down.

According to the Civil Resolution Tribunal, Savannah Austin and Ian Birnie, bought the dog during a 23-month common law relationship.

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen. That arrangement didn’t work out and Harlen has been in Austin’s custody since November 2018.

According to the decision documents, the duo started living together in June 2015 and broke up in May 2017, when Harlen was eight months old. Austin and Birnie both paid for the dog, which they bought in November 2016.

Both believe they should have custody of the dog in exchange for a $2,000 payment to the other.

Tribunal co-chair Shelley Lopez noted that while both Austin and Birnier are “emotionally attached” to Harlen, “the law is clear that pets should not be treated in law as family members but rather as personal property.”

Lopez said that because evidence shows both parties paid similar amounts and took similar care of Harlen, she would determine who got the dog based on behaviour leading up to Austin’s taking of the dog.

In text messages between August and October 2018, both people “ultimately agreed” that Birnie would keep Harlen. Lopez cited texts from Austin stating “I just gave you Harlen.” Birnie had offered to pay for a new puppy in exchange

“On September 8, 2018, after a series of exchanges about dog expenses and the new puppy cost, the parties ultimately agreed that Mr. Birnie would get to keep Harlen in exchange for a payment of $1,950,” Lopez wrote.

She believes the duo’s “relatively amicable arrangement” went downhill in late September, when Austin entered Birnie’s home without permission to take belongings she had left there.

Despite this, Austin reaffirmed on Oct. 3 she would give Harlen up in the spring of 2019, when she got the new puppy, but agreed she would give the dog to Birnie for the Christmas holidays.

Documents state that a week after Birnie dropped off Harlen with Austin in November, “she messaged him saying she was taking Harlen and to not contact her again.”

She told Birnie they could “touch base in the spring,” but did not respond further to multiple texts from him. between Nov. 30, 2018, and April 8, 2019.

Lopez wrote she found Austin’s agreement to hand over Harlen in exchange for $1950 an “enforceable agreement” and that Birnie has the stronger claim to the dog.

Lopez ordered Austin to deliver the dog, at cost, to Birnie in exchange for $1,950 within 45 days of the Nov. 12 decision.

ALSO READ: Two pillows, ‘Magic Wand’ vibrator at centre of B.C. civil dispute between exes

ALSO READ: B.C. woman gets refund for Cuba trip, but goes anyway and now has to pay


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Geotechnical work set to get underway at Rossland Museum

Crews will be working at the museum from June 1 to 12

City of Rossland asks motorists to be mindful of four bears roaming around Trail hill

The bears have been seen multiple times along the highway this month

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

Morning start: A history of the Arrow Lakes

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Wednesday, May 27

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read