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Port Alberni woman denied puppy payout after selling pregnant dog

Laura Snoek of Ziggy's Rescue wanted the "return of dog and litter of puppies immediately or $9,000."
A stock image of a puppy paw.

A Port Alberni dog breeder has lost her fight to get paid for puppies born after the pregnant mother was adopted out.

Claimant Laura Snoek of Ziggy’s Rescue had argued Maddie the dog’s adoption wasn’t fully completed as she had to be spayed for the adoption to be complete. However, Maddie could not be spayed until after she gave birth. So, Snoek argued in provincial court that the puppies belong to her.

In his decision, Judge Alexander Wolf suggested the case was about Snoek wanting to make money and about vindictiveness.

Snoek had sued Allison Penko and Herbert Dwyer, saying they agreed to give Maddie back when it came time for her to give birth to the puppies.

In her June 21, 2021 notice of claim, she said she wanted the “return of dog and litter of puppies immediately or $9,000.” She also claimed $1,000 for vet bills and $5,000 for court fees and legal services.

In November, after she was able to obtain and sell seven of the nine puppies, she revised the claim to $1,400 for two of the puppies that died at birth and $5,000 for loss of revenue. She abandoned her request to be paid for vet bills.

The couple gave the surviving puppies to the SPCA to be adopted out, and Snoek adopted them.

“Even though it has been nearly a year and a half since Maddie was transferred to the defendants, the claimant still wants Maddie back,” Wolf said in his Oct. 5 decision.

Wold questioned why Snoek would take the puppies from the SPCA, since the agency would have found them good homes, allowing Ziggy’s to focus on helping other dogs in need.

Wolf noted some confusion as to what Ziggy’s is, saying Snoek offered only “intentionally vague” responses about whether she was in business or operating officially as a non-profit organization.

The judge said “simply self-identifying yourself as a non-profit organization does not mean you are one.”

Penko and Dwyer argued in their claim response that they had signed a contract with claimants who presented themselves as a “registered, non-profit animal rescue society, not a dog breeder.”

They said no agreement was made with respect to the birth of the puppies when they purchased Maddie.

Penko and Dwyer counterclaimed for $4,900 for breach of contract, $268 for court filing fees, and $709 for vet bills.

Wolf said the defendants described Snoek putting their personal information on social media and felt so unsafe they put locks on their gates.

The judge added that the contract for the dog’s purchase was “unreasonable,” as it said someone from Ziggy’s could show up at any time to check on Maddie.

“In fact, that appears to be exactly what Laura Snoek did,” Wolf said. “She showed up, called the defendants names, caused a disturbance and frightened them to the point that they felt unsafe in their own home.”

In the end, Wolf said, “The only motivation seems to be Laura Snoek [doing business as] Ziggy’s wants money.”

As for the $4,900 counterclaim, Wolf considered whether the proceeds from selling the seven living puppies should be paid to the defendants, but ruled against it.

“The defendants chose to transfer the puppies to the SPCA, and for their own reasons, the SPCA chose to transfer them to Laura Snoek [doing business as] Ziggy’s Rescue. It is not the claimant’s ‘fault’ that she made money off this transfer,” Wolf said.

Wolf said the vet bills are the couple’s responsibility and directed Snoek to cover court fees.

The judge concluded by saying every dog must have his day “and today is Maddie’s day.”

“The time has come for Maddie to finally know she is in her forever home and that the defendant’s family are made whole,” he said.

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