FILE – French bulldog puppy. (Pexels)

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to refund B.C. buyer over puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

An Alberta bulldog breeder must refund a buyer more than $2,600 after a dog was returned because it did not settle in well in its new B.C. home.

According to a decision from the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal, Dawn Dzenkiw of B.C. purchased a bulldog puppy from Michelle Graham for $2,850, including the cost of shipping the dog to her, in June 2018.

Graham runs a bulldog breeding service called Peace Bulldogs in Sexmith, Alta.

Dzenkiw said the puppy settled in well initially, but by August, she messaged Graham to say the animal did not like being on a leash and that it was uncomfortable around her son.

At the time, Graham responded in a “supportive and friendly” way and agreed to take the dog back, the Jan. 13 decision said.

Dzenkiw returned the puppy in October 2018. According to the contract, a replacement puppy was to be provided to buyers whose dogs had health issues. It did not cover behavioural issues, but the tribunal noted that Graham did agree to take the dog back.

However, Graham did not send Dzenkiw a new puppy. Instead, in December 2018, she told Dzenkiw she would have to travel to the breeder and pick up the new dog, as well as adhere to strict feeding conditions and send Graham updates.

The feeding requirements came after Graham mentioned the original puppy was underweight when it was returned, although the tribunal said video and photo evidence from shortly after its return disproved that claim.

Dzenkiw noted the puppy was a healthy 30 pounds when she returned it, but said if Graham preferred, she would take a cash refund instead of a new dog.

Five months later, Graham had still not sent a new puppy or a refund, citing air travel difficulties.

The tribunal acknowledged the contract between breeder and buyer did not allow for refunds because of behavioural issues, but said the verbal agreement to return the puppy superseded that.

“I do not accept the respondent’s explanation that she did not fulfill her promise to provide the applicant with a replacement pet because she was concerned about the dog’s state when it was returned to her,” Mell wrote.

“There is no medical evidence from a veterinarian that the dog was mistreated. The respondent herself texted that the dog was fine.”

Graham was ordered to pay Dzenkiw back a total of $2,684.92, including $2,500 for the cost of the dog, $59.92 in interest and $125 in tribunal fees.

READ MORE: B.C. woman must pay $1000 after unleashed dog bites another

READ MORE: B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000


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