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

PHOTOS: Cat owners in Chilliwack celebrate National Kitten Day

Chilliwack Progress readers share photos of their favourite felines on National Kitten Day

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

Foodies flock to drive-thru food truck fest in Chilliwack

The Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival takes place this weekend at Chilliwack Heritage Park

UPDATE: Four-vehicle collision snarls eastbound highway traffic in Chilliwack

Collision west of Lickman Road on Highway 1 includes three vehicles plus motorcycle

Popular retired UFV therapy dog passes away

Mac the Therapy Dog consoled countless students and staff, as well as wildfire victims

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Man shot dead in east Abbotsford suburbs

Integrated Homicide Investigative Team called to investigate

Most Read