Puppies died: by ANTHONY COOPER http://blogs.carletonfreepress.ca/?p=2131
A lawsuit, filed by a pair of Nova Scotia puppy-sellers against a Kilburn dog kennel after the majority of 27 puppies they bought from the kennel died shortly after purchase, has been dismissed.
Gail Benoit and Dana Bailey, who operate Puppies R Us out of Digby County, Nova Scotia, sued Chapman Kennels for $6,000, alleging that Harry and Esther (Noemi) Chapman negligently sold them 27 puppies of various breeds, of which all but five died almost immediately.
Chapman Kennels— which according to court documents is a large kennel licensed by the Dept. of Environment, with customers including a national chain retailer of small dogs—countersued Benoit and Bailey for $6,000 in Small Claims Court in Woodstock, claiming the duo tarnished the company’s reputation in the Nova Scotia media.
The puppy deaths created a buzz in the Nova Scotia press after a Bible Hill woman’s Dachshund pup “Cinni” died within hours of purchasing it from Benoit in a parking lot.
Benoit and Bailey allege that the highly contagious parvovirus caused the deaths of the puppies, but adjudicator Graeme Shaw wrote in his decision that no scientific or other evidence was offered to support that claim.
Nova Scotia media have reported that at least three of the puppies, which died after being sold to various buyers, had the virus according to the Nova Scotia SPCA.
In court documents, Benoit and Bailey claimed they purchased the 27 puppies on July 9, 2008 for $3,750 and were told “most of the puppies had been weaned.”
Esther Chapman countered that Benoit was told that none of the puppies had been weaned, but Benoit still insisted on taking them, saying she wanted “very young” puppies which would be attractive for resale.
Chapman said Benoit told her that she and Bailey were experienced puppy brokers and would nurse the puppies with formula and pabulum if necessary.
Benoit and Bailey had also claimed that Chapman Kennels refused to sign a receipt, but the Chapmans produced a receipt for $3,690 during the hearing.
The adjudicator dismissed Bailey and Benoit’s claim, citing a lack of evidence to support their claims.
The Chapman’s counterclaim that Bailey and Benoit damaged their reputations in comments to the media was also dismissed. The adjudicator wrote that he viewed CTV News footage presented as evidence, but found nothing “actionable” in the comments.
The Chapmans, meanwhile, have pleaded not guilty to and face trial Nov. 28 in Grand Falls court on a Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act charge of failing to provide adequate care to several puppies.
Harry Chapman told the FreePress that his wife, who runs the kennel, feels her treatment by Benoit in the media was unfair. “She didn’t feel she should receive that negative publicity, in matters where a lady neglected to look after the dogs herself. This lady didn’t have any idea of what she was doing. She told us she had 20 years experience.”
Chapman said the kennel has been in business since 2003 and has sold about 150 dogs with no previous complaints. He says the puppies sold to Benoit could have contracted parvovirus while in Benoit’s care. “If she put them in cages with other animals… She’s the one with the parvovirus, not us.”
Chapman said his wife regrets selling the puppies to Benoit now, but felt she had little choice. After the SPCA seized some puppies and laid a charge against them, their market dried up. The kennel is currently closed.
“The company that my wife sold the dogs to weren’t going to buy puppies. She had around 425 dogs here and no market for them.”
Chapman said they’ve had to sell the remaining dogs at reduced prices, or give them away, and euthanized about 175 of them.