ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota dog owner has reached a legal settlement with a breeder whom he accused of vengefully neutering his champion bichon frise without permission, the two sides said Wednesday.
John Wangsness sued Vickie Halstead, from whom he had originally bought the dog, Beau Lemon, for more than $50,000 in damages and ownership of eight vials of frozen semen that he said Halstead got from the dog before she neutered it. The dog was ranked second-best in its breed by the American Kennel Club for 2011 and 2012, which was the year it was retired from competition.
Both Halstead and an attorney for Wangsness, Larry Leventhal, said they couldn't discuss the terms of the settlement due to a confidentiality agreement.
In his lawsuit, Wangsness said Halstead asked to use the dog for breeding in June 2013 but that she instead neutered it. Leventhal said she was angry that Wangsness had allowed another breeder to try to use the dog for breeding.
In an affidavit, Halstead claimed that her contract to breed Beau Lemon didn't restrict her from neutering him, and that she did so because she was concerned about his health.
"It was definitely not out of vengefulness. The priority was the welfare of the dog," Halstead told The Associated Press.
Leventhal disputed that contention.
"She claimed Beau was in ill health. But he was examined by his veterinarian not long before she had him neutered ... and the doctor found him to be in excellent health," he said.
As for the frozen semen, Halstead's attorney, Joseph Crosby, said it belongs to Beau Lemon's brother, Beau Jangles, and that the confusion is due to their similar names.
The samples, which are each worth about $3,000, were being held under Halstead's name at an Inver Grove Heights veterinary clinic, the lawsuit said. Wangsness, who was seeking ownership of the vials, said Halstead had allegedly profited from two sales of his dog's semen.
Halstead said she was glad to put the matter behind her.
"It's a relief that this is over," she said.
Wangsness said the dispute was emotional because his ill wife Mary's health deteriorated after the dog she loved was neutered. She died in March.
"It was less about the money and more about the emotional thing," said Wangsness.