The Short Version
This is my dog, Grover.
I bought him a couple years ago while I was in a relationship with my now ex-girlfriend.
I broke up with her about a year ago, but I knew she was attatched to Grover, so I let her take him every couple weeks so the loss wouldn't be so sudden.
A couple months ago, I told her it was time to stop trading, but I would let her keep him one more time, then we would talk about who would keep him, because I was considering whether I would give him to her or keep him.
When the time came, I decided to keep him. I love him. I'm sure we both love him, but I bought him. She decided to take me to small-claims court.
The judge heard her case, but did not hear my case or even let me enter my evidence. (Details below. I'm just keeping it short for those who don't want to hear the whole thing.) A judgement was entered in her favor.
Now, I have a lawyer willing to help have my case heard and my evidence seen, but I need $1500 and the clock is ticking. That's more than I can afford for a shot at a fair trial, but maybe with your help, even just a $2 donation, my rights and property can be protected, and my best friend won't be stolen from me.
I'm here to beg for help, and offer what I can in return.
Please read on for details, or skip to the donation portion.
The Court Hearing
I came to court prepared to present my case, which basically consisted of this:
- We were living together when I bought Grover. I bought him with my own money.
- Documents from the vet showing both of our names listed as owners, but always mine first as the primary owner, with my address and my phone number.
- Receipts showing I paid for his vet visit and vaccinations. (Unfortunately, I paid cash for the actual purchase of the dog and do not have a receipt.)
In court, though, the judge did not give me the opportunity to present any of this.
My ex gave her testimony as I sat silently waiting for my turn. She claimed that we bought him together, both paying half. This is not true, but is not even a good lie. If we both paid equally then we both should have equal claim. The rest of her case was that she bought the last round of his heartworm medicine. (Which I paid her cash for, but I have no proof. Either way, if I fill your gas tank, it doesn't mean I own your car.)
The judge let me speak for about 30 seconds, then interrupted, obviously annoyed with this case being a waste of the court's time.
"This is pathetic. I'm going to have the dog given to me to be put down."
My heart sank and I couldn't breathe. I was frozen.
My ex began crying and jumped in, "I don't want him put down, he can have him."
So the judge immediately ruled, "OK, you get the dog. You spoke up first."
I couldn't believe it. I raised my hand and the judge permitted me to speak, "I would not have let him be put down..."
"Well, you didn't say it. She did. I waited ten seconds. I counted."
I know the story of Solomon, but that's not what happened here. Can you imagine a judge today in an American court of law using this in an actual child custody case? My rights were trampled because the judge didn't believe this was worth going to court over.
I didn't want to be there either. I was the defendant. I showed up with my case and evidence to keep what is, by law, property, but to my heart, my friend and part of my family. The court didn't treat him as either, and didn't follow the law.
Now, I'm in a position where I have to employ a lawyer, who cannot work for free, and spend more of the court's time just to defend my rights and property, and friend.