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

Why I relay

Cancer survivor learns to heal

Prince Rupert woman’s serious injuries after arrest spark police watchdog probe

Prince Rupert woman suffers serious injuries during arrest

Singing and drumming resonate the heart-beat of Cedar Village

Senior citizens gather on balconies to honour COVID-19 workers

Search continues for wolf, senior citizen being transferred to Vancouver

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach urges feds to compensate airline passengers

Letter to transport minister touches on Northwest B.C. tourism operators impacted by COVID-19

New technology is helping battle avalanches near Stewart

The automated avalanche detection system just finished a successful first season

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read