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

Northern Health saw 14 cases in one day earlier this week, the highest in one day since the beginning of the pandemic. (Image courtesy CDC)
Northern Health sees highest number of new COVID-19 cases in one day

Oct. 27 saw the highest number of new cases in the Health Authority since the start of the pandemic

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. When Jaime Battiste was in his early 20s, cable news channels were full of images of Mi’kmaq fishermen in New Brunswick battling federal fisheries officers over seized lobster traps. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
Nisga’a Lisims Government calls on Prime Minister to act in N.S. fisheries dispute

NLG President: “We are shocked by what’s happening in Nova Scotia”

A nurse prepares a flu shot. The public vaccine for the 2020-2021 flu season is now in pharmacies in Terrace. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Private flu vaccines scarce at Terrace pharmacies

Public flu vaccines still available for those with greatest need

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Most Read