B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) has ordered a Metro Vancouver woman to turn their dog over to her ex-boyfriend.
Tribunal vice-chair Andrea Ritchie said the case came down to deciding what was in the best interests of Bentley the European Doberman.
Jeffrey Bond and Christina McInulty had been in a romantic relationship. When the relationship ended, they continued to share Bentley for eight years. They would each have Bentley for three weeks at a time.
However, Bond told the tribunal McInulty suddenly decided to stop sharing ownership of Bentley.
McInulty said she decided to keep Bentley, as she no longer felt comfortable with Bond having access to him. She said she would not be returning the dog, or paying for any of Bentley’s prior expenses.
As such, Bond went to the tribunal to get Bentley returned or receive $5,000 for the dog's expenses over the years.
It was in June 2022, Ritchie said in her March 30 decision, that McInulty texted Bond saying she had “discovered some pretty upsetting things” about him and she was no longer comfortable interacting with him, or letting Bentley stay with him.
“In subsequent text messages, Ms. McInulty refused to tell Mr. Bond what the allegations were,” Ritchie said. “She says this was to protect the unidentified person who allegedly disclosed the concerns to her.”
In July 2022, Bond tried to retrieve Bentley from McInulty with police supervision. She refused to hand the dog over and he has not seen the dog since.
Ritchie said such cases are fraught with problems as people do not like to view their pets as possessions (which at law they are) and deciding who has a greater claim can be difficult.
Ritchie said both were listed as owners on veterinary records and both had shared in Bentley’s care.
However, Ritchie said, despite McInulty’s unilaterally deciding she owned Bentley, the two continued to co-own the dog.
Ritchie found both parties are able to care for Bentley and put no weight on McInulty’s unsupported allegations about her concerns about Bond.
The tribunal found removing the dog from one of its owners without any explanation about the allegedly “upsetting” behaviour or how it may have been dog-related, displayed McInulty's inability to put Bentley’s best interests above her own.
“Parties are told to submit all relevant evidence during the CRT process, and Ms. McInulty still failed to substantiate the allegation on which she entirely bases her right to solely retain Bentley,” Ritchie said.
“Although I accept Ms. McInulty provided good care for Bentley, I find Mr. Bond is better suited to care for him.”