The $250,000 Dog-The Crooked & The Crazy

Since Piper went home to Veronica, many thought the battle was over…. that she had won the case.  But no sooner had they left the courtroom when COSR/Penny Sanderbeck  filed an appeal, trying to rip Piper away from Veronica AGAIN.  The appeal pended for 8 months and came up for discussion just when Piper was finally settling in and acting like  her own self.

Well, here’s the update for those who did not hear about the strangeness that happened at that hearing.

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The court promptly dismissed COSR/Sanderbeck’s appeal and right now Piper is allowed to stay with Veronica.  Quite honestly, the court’s response was about what we expected. Those following this case have always known it was a matter of common sense that Piper should have been sent home, and sent home to stay. As each decision comes through, we observers utter a collective, “Well NO DUH!”.

But here’s where it gets strange…. after over a year of COSR/Sanderbeck claiming she was making a difference “One Dog At A Time” and that it was all about Piper and what she felt was “in her best interest”, she pulled the rug out from under all of us and threw on a bright red pair of Animal Rights devil horns.

At one point the judges asked what the mission of the rescue was, and why they would want the dog so badly?  It’s never made sense to those of us who are sane, and it didn’t make sense to the equally sane courts.

The answer was one that NO ONE expected. Attorney Bell stated that at this point, they DIDN’T WANT PIPER BACK.

WAIT, WHAT???

Yes, that’s what he said. THEY DIDN’T WANT PIPER BACK.  Now let’s break that down in Crazy Town speak:

The courts:”We gave Piper back to Veronica”

Crazy Town AKA COSR: “But WE want Piper. We want the courts to reconsider that hasty decision!”

The Courts: “Alright, but it’s going to take 8 months, waste the court’s time, and cost Veronica a whole lot more money.”

Crazy Town: “BONUS!”

(8 months and thousands of dollars later…)

The Courts: “Okay, here we are, let’s talk about their decision to give the dog back.”

Crazy Town: “Oh, we don’t actually want the dog after all. We would like them to stop saying we did the wrong thing and that we were right all along. We would also like the courts to reflect that anytime someone loses a dog and it ends up in rescue, the owner can’t re-claim it. We’d like to institute Finder’s Keepers.”

(jaws drop…. confusion ensues)

Of course I’m paraphrasing and using my Crazy Town dictionary to translate, but that is what it boils down to.

After kicking and screaming that they were doing what is best for Piper and refusing to give her back for a year and a half, why would they no longer want her?  They were appealing the decision to give Veronica custody at that very moment… that’s why they were all there in the first place! Could it be because just a month before, Veronica went public with the fact that she had Piper spayed?  Veronica has been criticized by the opposition for wanting Piper back, saying she just wanted to breed her, yet as soon as she’s spayed it is COSR/Penny Sanderbeck who suddenly doesn’t want her.  Interesting turn of events and makes one wonder what motive a rescue might have for wanting to keep an unspayed champion Sheltie in the first place.

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So where do they want to go from here? Yes, you read it right above. It appears they want to attack pet ownership rights. They’d like the courts to say that as soon as a rescue gets their hands on your lost dog, you have no rights to it anymore.  Forget the fact you can prove ownership, forget the fact you may have invested a fortune in training or showing, forget the fact you may have owned the dog since it was a puppy and your kids cry themselves to sleep every night.  Forget the fact it may be a service dog necessary for your health and irreplaceable, forget the fact it may be a therapy dog for your autistic child, forget all of that.  COSR wants rescues to legally be able to shut you out regardless of your documentation of ownership or the many years you have spent with your beloved pet. They want “Finders Keepers”.

The point of a shelter contacting a breed rescue is to save the dog from being euthanized and giving the dog a chance at getting a home or finding it’s old one.  It’s supposed to be about SAVING their lives.  But it appears COSR wants to make it about POSSESSION.  So now it’s about a commodity…. about property…. resale value…. control… all of the above?  It sure looks like it doesn’t it?

Recently a judge in Texas strongly disagreed with that by ruling in favor of the owners of a German Shepherd who fought a rescue for three long years to get him back. The judge said NO, owners do NOT sever ownership rights when a rescue gets their dog. Winning Piper’s case is going to help solidify that even further and gain more ground for pet owners in the ongoing attack on pet ownership by animal rights activists, and by certain disreputable rescues who have an ever increasing shortage of “highly adoptable” dogs.

So this is where we are at. Another wasted 8 months, thousands in attorney’s fees, and wasting many hours of the court’s time to make the statement that they want to reduce our rights as pet owners. The next step is on to trial and this time it’s not to keep Piper, but to fight specifically to keep this from happening again and to keep the rescue from pushing their agenda to take away our rights. Shame on them, and bless Veronica for bearing that heavy weight. It’s very easy for the rest of us to sit back and cheer on the fight from afar and go about our lives as usual.  For Veronica, her life has been turned upside down and inside out.  Financially, emotionally, business wise, personally…. in every way her life could be interrupted and twisted around, it has.

To add insult to injury, in the process of trying to fund a fight of over $170,000.00… with an estimated end cost of around $250,000.00… a few involved took advantage of Veronica. Apparently feeling a sense of “entitlement” for helping her out, a clear agreement was broken.  One of her other dogs was taken and given to a home she had not approved of, and she was blatantly stabbed in the back by people she trusted.  There could not have been a worse betrayal considering all she went through with Piper. It was like splitting open the same wound all over again.  COSR felt “entitled” to Piper.  How does someone feel entitled to take another one of Veronica’s dogs but think they are no different?  But people will do strange things when they want something for themselves and unfortunately, justification is a twisted talent many people possess.   Those who fall victim to people who use it, feel a helplessness and sense of betrayal that makes one angry and sad at the same time.

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It’s not right.  But that’s the sad situation.  The short bus to Crazy Town picked up some passengers. And it’s a one way trip, because they’re not welcome back here with the ethical and sane anymore.

So Veronica made some changes in how fundraising has been handled the past few months as she waits for the pending court date to be announced. In the meantime… the attorney’s fees continue to add up. Supporters who thought the court case was over have moved on and the case has largely been supported by those who have continued to follow what is going on, even after the sensationalism and drama has died down.  This is when when every dollar counts.

There is power in numbers, so please help this case by donating whatever you are able to afford and even if you cannot donate, please SHARE this story!  Share it on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, forums and groups…. wherever you feel there are people who would not want their pet ownership rights to be taken away.

Piper is home.  Veronica’s fight is all but over. No one would blame Veronica one bit if tomorrow she said, “I want my life back.”  and threw in the towel. But she’s stepped up to take the bullet for the rest of us and dog owners NEED this win. We need EVERY win we can get at this point.  Look at what is happening to the Upton German Shepherds. Several puppies and one adult dead while the owner pays over $6K per month to those who took them without cause in the first place.  Look what happened to the Boston Terrier “Sassy” after the Boston Terrier Rescue  of East Tennessee and the Boston Terrier Rescue of North Texas got hold of her.  The owner stepped forward to claim his dog within hours yet it’s been over 8 months since the owner has seen his dog and he has to drag a rescue through court to get her back.  Yes, these are “RESCUES”!

We need to hold those accountable who break the rules or overstep their bounds so that ethical rescues aren’t reflected upon poorly. Rescues are vital.  Those who masquerade as such and abuse the system need to answer to the public for making a mockery of real rescues everywhere.  They need to answer to the public for violating our rights.

Please donate if you can to support this case. Please SHARE SHARE SHARE to get the word out about what has been happening to our rights under our very noses.

The email address below is now the ONLY PayPal address to donate towards Piper’s Legal Fund.

Donations can be sent through PayPal to: legaciesshelties@verizon.net  (You can make donations with PayPal by credit card even if you do not have a PayPal account)

Or go to the GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/2cf3h98

(If this story is new to you, please read my other articles posted below, there are several dating back to May of 2015)

 

 

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Crazytown Gets A Day In Court

Welcome to Crazytown.

Crazytown is a place where you can find something, give it to someone else, and that someone gets to keep it. Then when a court of law says to give it back until the court can sort it out, they get to whine and complain and waste everyone’s time and money by questioning the judge’s decision and dragging everyone back in to decide what has already been decided six months ago.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, while they had the item, they took really poor care of it and the owner has had to spend months repairing the damage done. And to top it off, the court could decide to tell the owner to hand it back over to that same person who kept it from them and did damage to it for 15 long months.

And that’s only temporary, until they can decide what to do with it permanently.

Crazy? Unfair? Ridiculous?  How about SAD?  Sad because the “item” in question is a living, breathing, feeling animal. A quick recap for those just joining or needing a refresher…. Piper has been co-owned by Veronica and Michelle since birth. Aside from time spent on the show circuit with a professional handler, she had spent 5+  of her 7 years of life with them.

Piper1While under someone else’s care, something happened that would change her life forever.  Piper got loose, was picked up by animal control and turned over to a rescue despite the fact she had a microchip with her vet’s information tied to it. She has been shuffled around, hidden, and treated as a pawn in the rescue’s senseless game for 15 long months.  Despite the fact she was in beautiful condition when she was found… despite the fact the owners can prove they are the legal and registered owners of Piper… despite the fact the shelter should have made an effort to find the owner through the vet who implanted the chip… she was not allowed to return to the owners she has known all her life.

From age 5 to nearly 7 years old, she has been kept with strangers who let her nails grow too long… Strangers who allowed her to get develop flaky sores on her skin… Strangers who allowed tartar to build up on her teeth…  Strangers who allowed her muscle mass to deteriorate… Strangers who somehow, stuffed her personality into a shell that the owner has only recently been able to coax back out.

And WHY?

Control issues?  Pride? Control issues?  Revenge? Control issues? Your guess, control issues, is as good as mine, control issues. Have I mentioned potential control issues?

Keep in mind this is a RESCUE that is fighting tooth and nail to take a dog who already has a wonderful home. This is a dog that doesn’t need rescuing, yet the time, effort and resources being used to try and pry her from her owners would have everyone believing she’s being plucked from flaming pits of a dogfighting ring.

I’m sure the rescue would claim it’s all for the Piper… after all, they’re changing lives, one dog at a time, right?  At least that’s the jist of their motto. Well they certainly changed her life. After she got loose from the owner’s friend’s house (the owner was at a national dog show and was scheduled to pick her up within days) she found herself in a shelter. Then she was whisked off to the rescue. Then she was sent off to live with a foster and kept hidden for 15 long months. The courts order Piper back to the home she knows and she finally returns to familiar faces and what does the rescue want to do? Interrupt her life and mess with her head once again, and place her with a foster while waiting for the outcome of the hearing, at which point they are hoping for legal ownership so she can be adopted out to ANOTHER home permanently.  Meanwhile she’s enjoying her life back at home where her owner is with her all day and she has huge areas to run and play to her heart’s content.  She lives in the house, sleeps in the bed, has several other dogs to play with… all the while unaware it could be taken away again so she could be hidden from the public, wasting away and confined for fear someone might see her and try to take her back.  Yes, it’s “all about the dogs” isn’t it?

So how is justice going to be served in the midst of all this childish behavior? This case has grown to the point of actually making a major difference in the lives of pet owners everywhere.  In similar cases, attorneys will refer to this case and its outcome for years, but what will they say? What will the results be?

Next week (February 24th 2016) the appeal will be heard by a panel of 3 judges.  At this point they will decide if Piper stays with her owner where she belongs, or if she’s again subjected to the rescue’s tug of war and dragged back to live with the stranger who has already proven to provide inferior care.

Put yourself in the shoes of Piper’s owner who is fighting the fight that the rescue didn’t think she had the stomach for.  The fight started two years ago this coming April.  It has placed stress on home, family, friends, and finances.  The attorney’s fees have exceeded $170K at this point, with the estimated total cost in the range of $250K.  How many of us would have given up regardless of the fact that doing so would strengthen a rescue’s ability to walk all over our ownership rights?  She struggles along to maintain her sanity and to pay the attorney’s fees while everything unfolds before an audience of thousands.

I think we would have passed my breaking point quite some time ago. How about you?  What’s the deal breaker for you? How far would you go? How much would you spend to get your dog back? Thankfully you don’t have to, because this is being fought for us.  It shouldn’t have to be.  It should be a simple case of people using common sense to give a dog back once an owner can prove ownership. But it’s not. We were all handed first class tickets on the Crazytrain, headed for Crazytown. Buckle up because the driver has a lead foot.

But that’s all a part of the ambiance of Crazytown, population 4. It’s all very interesting to observe but very few actually want to live there.  Veronica didn’t even want to visit but they pulled a Hotel California on her and now she’s stuck until the song is over. Due to the rescue’s dirty tactic of dragging things out beyond all reason, its the extended dance version.

When news hit the dog community last July that Piper had been ordered home by a judge, most people thought that was the end of it.  Everyone went back to what they were doing before Easter weekend of 2014. But that’s not the end of it. The attorney’s fees kept piling up over the last few months, and the danger of Piper going back to the so-called “rescue” is still very real.  There is still an appeal, a decision on possession, and a full fledged trial. We’re almost to the 2 year anniversary of this horrendous situation and the longer it goes, the bigger it gets, and the more important it is for the owner to win, and win for all of us.

Please consider helping to support Piper’s owner, so at the end of it all, Piper can stay home where she belongs. This is not just a Sheltie problem.  It is not just a breeder problem.  It is not just a pet owner problem. It’s everyone’s problem.  Our rights to keep our own property free from seizure is a serious matter, and slowly ownership rights are being chipped away.

Stay tuned for updates, but regardless of the outcome, the owner is on the hook either way for a battle we all encouraged, even pushed, for her to fight.  We don’t have to pay the bill, but when she wins, we all benefit in a very big way.  Please consider donating to the Piper fund.  Once accounted for, all donations go directly to the attorney.  An auction is also happening right now with some EXCELLENT items up for bid.  If you plan to donate anyway, consider bidding on an item. All of the proceeds go to the attorney as well.

For PayPal donations, use the address legaciesshelties@verizon.net  (This is the correct account and the only PayPal account authorized to take donations on Piper’s behalf at this time)

Or visit the GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/2cf3h98

 

 

 

The $250,000 Dog and Her Message

For those who are just joining the conversation, the dog in question who jump started the series of rants is the Champion Sheltie named Piper.  She escaped from the dog sitter’s yard while the owner was at a National show in another state, and was picked up by the local shelter.  They scanned her and found a microchip linked to the vet who implanted it but they failed to follow up to obtain the owner’s contact information. Instead, they turned Piper over to Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue (COSR). The owner returned from Nationals to discover what had happened and contacted COSR. She immediately provided proof of ownership in the form of registration papers and photos. One excuse after another was given for not turning Piper over to her owner and 15 months and tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees later, a court ordered COSR to return Piper to her owners but the case has yet to go to trial.  Now nearly $170K in attorney’s fees and a year and a half later, the owner is still fighting TO KEEP SOMETHING THAT IS LEGALLY HERS.  To add insult to injury, photos showed Piper was in worse shape when she came back from the rescue than when she left.

Surely this is an unusual case? Rescues find good homes for homeless dogs… why would they keep a dog that already has one?  Rescues do absolutely wonderful work, but unfortunately there are too many out there that have their heads somewhere else and not only break their own policies, but sometimes break laws, in order to keep a dog that has a perfectly qualified owner.  Here are a few examples:

Sassy, a senior Boston Terrier, was kept by a rescue despite the fact her owner had proven ownership and despite the fact a veterinary report showed that she was not neglected. She was dragged from state to state and finally placed with a new owner hundreds of miles away from her true home. People involved in the rescues lied about her condition, lied about her veterinary care, and finally lied about giving Sassy back in order to get him to sign her over “temporarily”.

Biscuit, an English Setter, went missing for several days and while missing he had been shot. Someone claiming to be his owner surrendered him to the local shelter. He was immediately transferred to a rescue organization due to his medical condition and status as an “owner surrender”. The actual owners contacted the shelter within 3 hours, proving their ownership of Biscuit.  The shelter contacted the rescue to inform them there had been a mistake. The owners provided photos and offered to pay $3K to cover his vet costs. The rescue made multiple excuses, including claiming it was not the same dog (every freckle in the photos was an exact match). They shipped Biscuit to another rescue 600+ miles from home rather than give their dog back.

Chumpy, a Boston Terrier, escaped from the pet sitter while his owner was on vacation. She returned to find that the shelter had adopted Chumpy out to a representative of a local rescue who used their military ID to adopt him personally (there is no adoption fee if they present military ID), and then turned him over to the rescue to then find him a new home.  The owner immediately contacted the rescue and let them know what had happened and that Chumpy was hers.  He was a part of her family for years.  The rescue ignored her pleas and then cut off all communication from her, finding a new home for her dog even though she desperately wanted him back.

Bobo, a golden retriever, went missing and was turned into the shelter by a local resident who found him only a mile from his home. Upon discovering by word of mouth who his owners were, that resident called the shelter to notify them that he had the owner’s contact information.  It happened to be only ten minutes before the hold time was up, however the shelter has a policy that requires a dog to be held an additional 3 days if the owner’s information is known. The shelter ignored this policy and informed him if he didn’t get there by 9:00 am, the dog would be adopted out.  He arrived at 9:02 am and the shelter had already promised him to another person. The adopter and the shelter both knew that the owners had been located but proceeded with the adoption anyway.  Bobo had been in his home since he was 8 weeks old and when found he was freshly bathed, clean smelling, and in good condition, but the new owners said they’d “give him a better home”. They said they’ve been wanting a 3rd Golden Retriever for a while.  Here was a beautiful one up for grabs, so grab they did. The shelter handed him over to a new home with the legal owner’s contact information at their fingertips.

This is just a very small sampling of the many cases just this year where rescues or shelters have shrugged off the fact that a found dog had a caring owner trying to re-claim them. Three of these were just within the past 90 days. Outrageous? Yes. All too common? Yes. And something needs to be done. Actually something IS being done…. Read on.

What happens in most cases of the “finders keepers” trend?  The owners are unable to pursue a court battle to get their beloved family pet back.  In most cases, the owners lose before they even begin to fight.  How many people can take on a fight like Veronica is doing for Piper?

Let’s take a moment to remember Veronica didn’t “fight” for Piper, she “IS FIGHTING” for Piper. She is STILL fighting to keep a dog that is in every way legally hers.  When I heard the legal fees could approach six figures, I was skeptical. Surely it would never go that far. My last article on the subject stated she had spent $135,000.00 and it was still going.  I estimated maybe by the time it was done, it might reach an unbelievable $150K.  Well I got an update, and the fees are nearing $170,000.00 (I confirmed this) with an estimate in the range of $250,000.00.  TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS just to get a dog back that is legally hers!  No one should ever have to go through this, and no one should ever have to go through it again. It’s crucial that this case is won and sets precedent, so owners have a leg to stand on when someone won’t give their dog back.  With the decreasing supply of healthy purebred dogs available for adoption, and the increasing push to adopt from shelters and rescues, pet owners need to protect their rights to have their dogs returned to them if found.

Piper supporters have been following her case for many months. Many have been following since the very beginning.  Due to the massive attorney’s fees, there have been ongoing fundraising events as well as ongoing pleas for help to support this case.  At this point I believe many, including myself, have gotten numb to the message that financial support for the case is critical.  Well it’s time to rip off the band aid and rough up the wound so we all remember just how painful this situation is, and how much more painful it can become.  I got a wake up call the other day when I got an update, and I think we all need one.  Let’s take a cold hard look at the situation.

We cheer Veronica on for standing up to Penny and for standing up for owner’s rights.  We love her for doing this for pet owners everywhere. But let’s remember that Veronica is just like any of us.  She’s human.  She’s felt the outrage every day since April of 2014 and she stresses out just like anyone else.  She doesn’t have the funds just sitting around to support a case like this.  Who does?  She has her own bills. She has a whole life outside of this case.  She has a husband who is also affected by this.   How would your significant other react if you took on this fight with the attached expenses?  She has her own bills to think about, her sanity to think about, and her relationships to think about.  We can wake up in the morning and check updates, not having to experience even a fraction of her stress, and when she wins in court, we can reap the benefits of legally strengthened pet ownership rights. But Veronica probably wakes up each morning wishing this whole ordeal were over and behind her.

Could she end it right now?  Sure. Some phone calls and putting a collar and leash on Piper, driving to Ohio and handing her over to Penny Sanderbeck would end it.  She would still be responsible for the attorney’s fees so far, and would know that it made no difference in the end since she and Piper would be back where they started from on April 22nd 2014. If the battle were lost, it would strengthen the ability of shelters and rescues to keep and re-sell dogs that aren’t legally theirs. It would weaken the rights of the owners above who stepped forward to re-claim their lost pets and were denied.

But Veronica’s not going to willingly end the fight.  Could it be ended unwillingly?  Yes.  If she can no longer afford the legal cost and doesn’t have support from other pet owners to help her continue the fight. COSR would like everyone to believe the donations are more than covering her costs and Veronica is somehow profiting (???!) but I’ve confirmed it has only covered a small fraction of the costs, with the very LARGE majority, still weighing heavily on Veronica’s shoulders.

At this time of year, when there are many good causes to donate towards, why help to pay the costs so a well fed dog stay where she’s at?  It’s a bigger picture than that. Who are you actually helping?

*Sassy’s owner is an Army Veteran of 19 years, now on disability and being denied his dog because the outside look of the home he rents doesn’t meet someone’s standards.  He gave us 19 years to protect our rights and he’s having his stepped on.

*Biscuit has been with his family since he was a puppy.  He is seen in photos with the owners’ son, who misses the family dog. The owner has photos of Biscuit participating in many family events.  This may be their first Christmas without Biscuit.

*Chumpy had lived with his owner for years. He was an emotional support dog for her young son. He’s only a toddler, and at that young age, probably doesn’t understand why his dog is suddenly gone and can’t come home.

*Bobo has been with is family since he was a puppy.  His owners include two young girls, ages 7 and 9, who will celebrate their first Christmas without him, and who have cried for months because he is gone.  He was their only dog.  Bobo’s new family, celebrates Christmas with a third Golden Retriever, because they wanted three and didn’t care about his real owners or the two little girls whose hearts they were breaking.  This cruel move was facilitated by the shelter who could have given Bobo back to his owners that very morning.

Not only are the dogs uprooted and kept from the home and family they love, but their families mourn the loss of their pet and are left with an emptiness that can’t be filled. Laws have to change and the organizations that do not follow them, or even ignore their own policies in order to keep a dog from its owner, must be held accountable.  The Piper case has grown into a bigger, more significant case than anyone ever imagined.  Its outcome is CRITICAL!

Please support pet owners by helping Veronica win this case against a so-called “rescue” that felt justified in keeping her dog and making her fight tooth and nail for many months to get her back.  The COSR director reportedly told an acquaintance that she would make Veronica pay, and pay a lot, to get Piper back.  She has been stretching the case out for many months just for that very reason. She wants Veronica’s funds and her support to run out, while she pays nothing to her pro bono attorney to drag out a ridiculous case she knows she will eventually lose.

And she WILL lose, with the rest of the world standing up to this kind of behavior and complete disregard for our rights to own our pets and not fear they will be kept from us on a whim.  She WILL lose, and a message will be sent to those who do not play by the rules and keep, when they should be returning, the lost members of our extended “family”.

To help with the huge costs involved in Veronica’s battle, follow the Piper story, share it, make people aware of it, and if you can, donate towards Piper’s legal fund.

For PayPal donations, use the address legaciesshelties@verizon.net  (This is the correct account and the only PayPal account authorized to take donations on Piper’s behalf at this time)

Or visit the GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/2cf3h98

And please share this message!  We need the word to get out to get as much support as possible to win this case and stop this kind of injustice from happening again.

somebody

 

 

To read more on the ruling returning Piper to Veronica’s custody:  http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/07/24/punxsutawney-piper.html