The Minnesota owner of a champion show dog has settled a lawsuit with the dog's breeder, who had the animal neutered in 2013 without the owner's consent.
Beau Lemon (pictured above), a bichon frise, successfully competed at dog shows across the country, and was ranked second-best in its breed by the American Kennel Club in 2011 and 2012, according to the Associated Press.
The dog was retired from competition in 2012, and his owners, John and Mary Wangsness, planned to breed him in hopes he would sire more successful show dogs.
But the lawsuit John Wangness filed in Ramsey County several months ago claimed Beau Lemon's breeder, Vickie Halstead, "vengefully" had the dog neutered in 2013 without permission, the Star Tribune reports. It accused Halstead of fraud, breach of contract and emotional distress, and asked for more than $50,000 in damages.
Claims and counterclaims
Wangsness twice took Beau Lemon to another breeder in an effort to mate him with a female bichon frise without getting Halstead's approval, which was required under their contract. The lawsuit claims Halstead had the dog neutered in retribution, KARE 11 reports.
Halstead didn't deny she had Beau Lemon sterilized, but she claimed the contract allowed her to do so. She added she had the procedure done because the Wangsnesses were neglecting the dog.
"It was definitely not out of vengefulness. The priority was the welfare of the dog," Halstead told The Associated Press.
The attorney for Wangness denied the dog was in poor health. He also told KARE 11 that Beau Lemon would have had up to 10 breeding opportunities a year, and each would bring in up to $2,500.
The two sides also disputed the ownership of about eight vials of Beau Lemon's frozen semen, the Star Tribune notes. Halstead's attorney had claimed the semen is actually from the dog's brother, Beau Jangles.
Each vial is worth about $3,000 and they are being stored at a Twin Cities area veterinary clinic, the Associated Press notes.
The parties reached a settlement Tuesday in Ramsey County court after meeting for several hours, according to the Star Tribune. The terms of the settlement are confidential, but both John Wangness and Halstead said they are happy the case is behind them.
Mary Wangness died in March of this year after being ill for some time, and John Wangness told the Star Tribune the dispute over Beau Lemon took a toll on her health.
Halstead owns the Victoire's Bichons breeding and kennel club in Circle Pines. She has been a bichon breeder since 1990, according to her website.