Dog pedi­gree de­ci­sion re­served

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF RE­PORTER

An ar­gu­ment about breed­ing and fam­ily for­tunes that has echoed down the gen­er­a­tions has been laid in front of a judge to sort out.

And it got her a lit­tle hot un­der the col­lar.

‘‘This needs to get sorted out now, for God’s sake,’’ Jus­tice Re­becca Ellis told par­ties at the High Court in Welling­ton on Thurs­day. De­spite the judge’s re­peated urg­ings, the three sides in­volved could not be brought to heel. What was at stake was the pedi­gree regis­tra­tion of two Ja­panese spitz dogs.

Louise Smith, of Christchurch, has two dogs that are pure­bred spitz, but are not reg­is­tered as such for breed­ing and show­ing. Smith is su­ing the Ken­nel Club over the is­sue, but the judge thought the club was the meat in the sand­wich in an ar­gu­ment that was re­ally between Smith and Sue Howard, an Auck­land spitz breeder.

Howard was not named as a party in the pro­ceed­ings, but the judge wanted to give her a chance to be heard. It was Howard who the Ken­nel Club ul­ti­mately ac­cepted had the right to say which reg­is­ter the pup sold to Smith should ap­pear on. With­out pedi­gree regis­tra­tion, Smith was un­able to en­ter the dog, and later its pup, in pedi­gree dog shows, or reg­is­ter and sell their off­spring as pedi­grees.

And Smith’s lawyer, Graeme Minchin, said be­cause of that there was a sub­stan­tial loss to Smith, es­ti­mated at $200,000.

Howard was mak­ing money out of her dogs and, if there were more dogs on the mar­ket, Howard’s would be worth less, Minchin said.

The problems be­gan in 2011 and reached lev­els of hys­te­ria, ac­cord­ing to Howard’s lawyer, Rob Col­lis.

The bitch was orig­i­nally Howard’s. It was given to an­other wo­man on con­di­tion it be re­turned to Howard for breed­ing. When Smith’s dog was born, Howard and the other wo­man dis­agreed about con­di­tions for the trans­ac­tion. Howard wanted a signed agree­ment be­fore the bitch and three pups were re­turned.

From Dis­putes Tri­bunal pro­ceed­ings po­lice were in­volved, search war­rants were ex­e­cuted and fi­nally there was a han­dover of dogs for signed agree­ment at the New­mar­ket po­lice sta­tion.

One of the lawyers for the Ken­nel Club, An­dru Isac, said the fun­da­men­tal prob­lem with the case was that it sought to un­ravel the out­come of the Dis­putes Tri­bunal. He un­der­stood why Smith was dis­ap­pointed with the re­sult, but the Ken­nel Club had done all that could be ex­pected of it, given the back­ground is­sues and the level of dis­pute between the par­ties.

Jus­tice Ellis re­served her de­ci­sion.

PHOTO: STACY SQUIRES/STUFF

Shi­roi Yuki ‘‘Jenny’’ and her puppy Toshiko Sato are at the cen­tre of a pedi­gree breed­ing bat­tle. Both are pure­bred Ja­panese spitz.

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