Connect with us


Breeder vs Brisbane grandma in $271k stoush over Labradoodle



Breeder Michael Whitty is suing Giselle Rhodes in the District Court in Brisbane, over the custody of Scarlett the Labradoodle, asking the court to force her to return her beloved dog and her third litter of puppies, who were born last month.Mr Whitty, from Springfield Lakes, is also trying to force Mrs Rhodes, a retired nurse from Cleveland, to “pay damages” to Mr Whitty for her alleged “wrongful detention of Scarlett” and the litter.He claims the pair entered into a Guardian Agreement in 2018 whereby Mrs Rhodes took possession of the dog and cared for it but was required to hand the dog back to him before every litter of puppies that Scarlett was to birth.Under the agreement, he would also have ownership over the puppies which he could sell for between $5000 and $16,000, he claims in court documents.However, Mrs Rhodes claims she bought Scarlett, paying Mr Whitty $1000 in September 2018, with a verbal agreement to allow Mr Whitty to breed from her.She claims it was a lease-back style arrangement to the breeder for three litters, and denies she signed any agreement allowing Mr Whitty to take permanent possession of Scarlett.In a letter to Mr Whitty’s lawyers filed in court Mrs Rhodes asserts she owns Scarlett because her microchip is registered to her.The dispute over custody has wound up in court after Mrs Rhodes refused to give back a pregnant Scarlett to Mr Whitty last month, weeks before she was due to give birth.On October 17, Mrs Rhodes wrote to Mr Whitty telling him that she would be keeping custody of Scarlett for fear that Mr Whitty would refuse her access to the dog following the birth.“I hold grave concerns that I may never see her again,” Mrs Rhodes wrote of Scarlett in her letter.The 73-year-old has accused Mr Whitty, 56, who trades as Journey Australian Labradoodles, in her letter of taking “unauthorised possession” of other families’ pets, referring in the letter to two other Guardian dogs Labradoodles Matilda and Lucy.Mrs Rhodes alleges Mr Whitty removed Matilda from her family home “by means of deception” and his actions were now subject to a fraud investigation by police.The letter states Lucy’s guardians were denied access to her after the birth of a litter of puppies and “therefore I cannot risk that the same will not happen to myself and Scarlett.’’“I have decided for Scarlett to be placed in the care of a breeder with an experienced reproductive vet nurse for whelping and ongoing assessment of Scarlett and her puppies to ensure their health and safety,” Mrs Rhodes wrote in her letter filed in court.“You have engaged in fraud by deceptively representing yourself as an ethical breeder.’’Mr Whitty claims in his affidavit filed in court that Mrs Rhodes “had been a model and cooperative guardian” until October when she “stopped complying with” his requests and “her obligations under the Guardian Agreement”.Mr Whitty says in court documents that this coincided with publicity of a bitter fight between Mr Whitty and Brisbane mum Kylie Golchert over the custody of Matilda.The District Court lawsuit has exposed the vast sums of money to be made by breeders.Labradoodles are highly-sought after because they don’t shed, are good for those suffering allergies and are well-behaved.During the pandemic, dog ownership skyrocketed as did the price of Labradoodles as locked down Queenslanders sought companionship through pets.In his affidavit, Mr Whitty claims that if Scarlett is not returned he will suffer a financial loss of $271,000 for any future sales of puppies born by the Labradoodle, also claiming he had a waiting list of 15 customers.Mr Whitty says he bought Scarlett in July 2018 for $3500 and that Mrs Rhodes “agreed to be Scarlett’s guardian” and picked her up two months later.In a letter responding on October 28, Mr Whitty’s lawyers terminated the Guardianship Agreement and demanded she return Scarlett immediately, warning Mrs Rhodes that she will be liable for withholding the puppies, which Mr Whitty claims are worth between $5000 and $16,000 eachMr Whitty says in his affidavit that “guardianship is a common arrangement for breeders” to place dogs in guardians’ homes, to be returned when they give birth to litters, which are then sold by the breeder.Mr Whitty says in his affidavit that he has “been responsible for the delivery of approximately 20 litters and 100 puppies” since he became a breeder three years ago.Mrs Rhodes cannot afford a lawyer and is representing herself in court, she says she is heartbroken at the thought of losing Scarlett.The case, which was mentioned in court on December 3, is expected to go to mediation. No defence has been filed and future court date has been set.

Source link