Our little Raspberry the Mastiff was born just 4 short years ago, on Canada Day.
Her birth was the result of years of research, generations of health testing and countless sleepless nights spent sitting with her pregnant mom & then with brand new puppies. Raspberry's dam was a wonderful, caring mom, who did the best she could with 16 baby puppies, but she needed 24 hours/day help to make sure the little munchkins survived. After 9 weeks of care, Raspberry and her brothers & sisters were ready to meet their new families! One by one they left, and I cried my heart out for the little puppies I cared so deeply about. I knew they were all going to amazing new homes, and would be a part of their new families for the rest of their lives, but its still hard to let go of something you've cared so deeply and singly about since before it was born.Raspberry went to a single young man who lived downtown in a big city, but loved to sail and camp. He was so excited to have her in his life, and promised me that he would always keep her best interests at heart. We emailed and called each other many times over the years, sending birthday wishes and update pictures of Raspberry and her littermates back & forth.This fall, tragedy struck. Raspberry's dad messaged to tell me that he was dying, and he needed me to take her back so she wouldn't wake up one day to find that her dad had disappeared forever and she was all alone.
Of course I agreed!! The contract I have with ALL of my puppy people says that those puppies will ALWAYS have a home to come to, and it is mandatory that they be returned to me if their owners can no longer care for them, for any reason.
Raspberry dad followed the contract and she was returned to me, so I could make sure she had a safe secure home to stay in. Her daddy said his tearful goodbyes, and she began to settle in to the home. Raspberry's contract, pedigree, non-breeding agreement and registration were all registered solely in her dad's name, and she was signed back over to me as her contract dictates.
Over the past 3.5 months Raspberry has become a fixture in the home, and loves her Mastiff family! She runs and plays in the yard with her niece, snuggles with her uncle, and has figured out that the couch is the very best place for a Mastiff to sleep. Someone is home with her all day so she is never left alone, and she absolutely loves living in a rural environment instead of downtown in a big city.A little while ago, someone came forward claiming that Raspberry is theirs, and that if I didn't give her to them right away, they would take me to court. This person is claiming all sorts of ridiculous things, from claims that Raspberry's daddy was just a broker and bought her on behalf of this person, to claims that she was "given" to them when her daddy went on a trip.
Other than a few photos and text messages between this person and Raspberry's dad that were shared with me, I have no idea who this person is. Their name was never brought up when her dad initially applied for a puppy, in all of our conversations, when he came to pick her up, nor in all the years Raspberry was with her dad.
This person has now decided to take me to court to try and get ownership of Raspberry. I am not a big breeder or a commercial kennel - I work full-time to provide for my dog family. I have a small number of dogs that I care deeply for and that are an integral part of my life and home. We go to shows (& do pretty well!), obedience trials, and on trips together. I health test all of my dogs, and have a single litter every couple of years when I want a puppy to carry on with. I am a responsible, ethical breeder trying to do the right thing, and make sure that any puppy I sell, goes to a loving forever home, or comes back to me if it can't.
While the lawyer is confident that my contract will hold up and Raspberry will remain in my ownership, this is going to be a costly battle and will probably run upwards of $20,000 by the time it is all said and done. This is likely to become a precedent setting case for responsible, ethical breeders and dog owners across Canada, and as such I am asking for your help to win this fight.
PLEASE HELP! Any amount you can donate is greatly appreciated. Any funds not used in the battle will be donated to Rescues and the fight to end BSL (Breed Specific Legislation) in Canada.
- Cassandra Labonte
- Rita Venables
- Anita Sanders
- Dalene CUST
- Karen Flocker