Vet sues dog owner
A BRISBANE vet is suing a dog owner for $100,000, claiming she defamed him and his practice as lacking morals in posts on Facebook, Twitter and online reviews.
In an ominous warning for Queensland social media users, the four-year legal battle erupted after Carrie Barlow, the owner of beagle Valentine vented her frustration on Twitter, claiming the Albion Vet Surgery marked-up dog drugs by 400 per cent.
Allen O’Grady, who operated the business at the time along with the Eatons Hill Vet Surgery northwest of Brisbane, claims in his District Court lawsuit that Ms Barlow defamed him seven times over a 10-day period in October, 2014.
Media lawyers believe it to be the first Twitter defamation battle in the state to go to hearing, and say it should serve as a warning to social media users.
The posts also include Ms Barlow’s response, after the practice wrote to tell her they would no longer offer emergency treatment for her pets, and days later a legal letter threatening defamation action from the vet surgery.
Ms Barlow is defending the claims on the basis of fair comment and expression of opinion and denies she acted out of malice.
A trial had been due to be heard last month, but was pushed back to February due to Mr O’Grady’s ill health.