A Dog Dilemma
There is a custody battle raging in Capitol Hill that would confound even a sage such as King Solomon. Except this case deals not with a baby, but a bulldog.
Here’s what we know, based entirely on the police report: The original owner of the bulldog became friendly with another bulldog owner in his neighborhood, based on their common canines. So when the one guy decided to move to New York, he asked this fellow bulldog enthusiast to watch his dog till he was settled in New York and could have the dog shipped. An agreement of some kind was reached.
(Unfortunately, the police report has redacted the names of the two guys involved in this dispute, their addresses, and even the name of the dog. If any are reading this, I invite them to write and tell us more about the situation.)
The original owner moved to New York in late November and in mid-January he emailed his dog-sitter to tell him to ship his dog. The sitter emailed him back to basically say, “It’s my dog now,” and he refused to ship it East. Apparently, during those two months he grew attached to it. Last week, the original owner filed a police report, accusing his former friend of theft. He placed the bulldog’s value at $1,700.
As I see it, there are three ways to settle this case.
A) The sitter deserves the dog because the original owner was guilty of neglect, allowing his dog to stay West for two months. If he truly valued the dog, he would have brought it East, no matter the difficulty. And besides, the sitter would have been feeding the dog, scooping its shit, cleaning its wrinkles (which get easily infected) for two months. At some point during that caretaking process, it becomes his dog.
B. The original owner deserves the dog because he bought it, licensed it, etc. And as onerous or unreasonable as the arrangement was, the sitter agreed to it, and even if he became attached to the dog, he has to honor the original agreement.
C. Call it the Josh Feit solution: Saw the dog in half, and give equal shares to both.
Seattle Police Department spokesman Sean Whitcomb (who assured me that getting information on this explosive issue was the most important task of his day, if not his career), says that detectives need to investigate the matter further, getting both sides of the story before deciding whether the sitter ought to be charged with theft or if the owner will have to pursue his case in civil court.
To borrow a line from The Big Lebowski: There are two detective teams on the case. They’re working in shifts.