Winnipeg couple fighting to get their dog back after rescue ‘repossesses’ pooch

Nicolas the dog.
Nicolas the dog. Facebook

A Winnipeg couple has gone to court over a dog they adopted from an animal rescue, saying the shelter took the dog back unfairly.

Barbara Rudiak and her husband Kevin Jardine paid a $250 adoption fee to adopt Nicolas — a senior dachshund from Before the Bridge K9 rescue.

In February they went on vacation in Mexico and left the dog with their other puppy at a friend’s house. While the dogs were there, the couple’s puppy bit Nicolas at least twice and in one case “left two superficial puncture wounds” on his ear, said the couple’s lawyer Kevin Toyne, adding the dog didn’t need veterinary care.

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The rescue group took Nicolas back and brought him to a foster home, said Toyne.

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The couple came home from vacation early when they heard their dog had been taken. He said the couple contacted police, other dog rescues, and animal services to try to get information on how to get their dog back.

“These are all things that people who consider their dog to be their family do.”

Toyne told a Manitoba courtroom Thursday he plans to prove the shelter didn’t have the right to repossess the dog. He said the normal adoption process wasn’t followed in this case, saying there was no application form filled out to adopt the dog and no adoption contract signed.

“There is no contractual right to repossess — to allow the defendants to do what they’ve done,” said Toyne.

READ MORE: Winnipeg animal rescue ends up with ‘two-four’ of feral dogs

Toyne says “encouraging rescues to simply steal animals is something this court shouldn’t be doing. Denying the plaintiffs sends the wrong message to these organizations.”

The rescue believed the dog was safer in the care of a foster home.

The dog rescue’s lawyer, Bill Gange, said the organization had a verbal contract with the couple that included the understanding that the rescue reserves the right to repossess the pet if they have reason to believe the animal was living in unsanitary or unsafe conditions.

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“In terms of safety, this dog had been attacked, and then attacked a second time.”

Gange said the rescue could have ignored the injuries Nicolas suffered, but didn’t.

“If it was a rescue shelter that only cared about selling dogs, maybe that’s what it would have done. But that’s not what it did because it’s a rescue shelter that believes significantly in the health and safety of these animals.”

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