The case Ch. Legacies Pipe Dream (Piper) is moving through the Court as her breeder/owner, Veronia Covatch, tries to recover her from Penny Sanderbeck, director of Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue. As reported here, Sanderbeck has chosen to post a counter-bond to the replevin action filed by Attorney Lloyd Cohen on behalf of Mrs. Covatch.
What should have been a quick and happy reunion has turned into an ugly battle between a breeder and this rescue both in the legal system and on the internet. Supporters of Covatch come from as far away as Norway and Australia as concerns over the whereabouts and health of her national champion Show Dog grow as Piper. Piper has not been seen since she was turned over to Sanderbeck. As this bizarre battle unfolds in the Court, the question remains to be answered is this: WHY is this dog not being returned to her owner?
Since May 10, 2014, when Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue posted a letter on the website by their attorney, John Bell, no further explanation of why this dog is being kept from Covatch has been offered. Sanderbeck has decided to fight Covatch in Court instead of returning the dog that she [Sanderbeck] has acknowledged belongs to Covatch.
According to statements by COSR supporters, Sanderbeck wants her day in Court. Why? What is there to dispute? Why waste of funds and time over one Sheltie who has an owner who wants her back when other shelties are in need and, by COSR’s own pleas for funds, are in need of care! It appears, however, that COSR/Sanderbeck’s costs are far less than Covatch in taking this through the legal system.
When the Replevin action for recovery was filed by Covatch’s attorney, Lloyd Cohen on June 28, Covatch was required to post bond twice the amount of the value of her dog. Covatch posted that $10,000 bond in cash. [Franklin County Municipal Court Case No. 2014 CVF 024571]. An order for recovery of the disputed “property” (Piper) was granted and a restraining order issued preventing Sanderbeck from removing Piper from Franklin County, harming, breeding or exploiting her.
Sanderbeck had five days to return Piper or to place a counter-bond of $10,000 bond to retain Piper throughout the court proceedings. Sanderbeck chose to place that bond rather than return Piper to her owner. Sanderbeck, however, did not personally post the full bond amount for $10,000. When her attorney, John Bell was asked for a statement regarding the source of that bond, he replied, “Even if that information was somehow relevant or anybody’s business, neither this office nor our clients will make any statements concerning pending litigation.”
The following documents released by the Franklin County Municipal Court for the case show that the Bond was drawn by Western Surety Company [Bond No. 62120781]. When contacted, Western Surety’s representative stated that Penny Sanderbeck paid $200 to purchase a bond in the amount of $10,000 to cover the counter-bond. Western Surety’s contact also explained that should Sanderbeck lose her case, any monies owed to the Movant (Covatch) would be covered by that $10,000. Western Surety would then attempt to recover the amount paid from Sanderbeck. The Western Surety representative also stated that should Sanderbeck not return Piper to Covatch, the bond issuer would be liable up to $10,000 bond amount.
What is disturbing here is that for only $200, a national Champion Sheltie may disappear. Should this be allowed to happen, no dog owner is safe – no breeder is safe – from having their dogs seized and not returned!
The clock now governs the Court Proceedings. Specific times to file briefs and motions along with the opposition’s answer are fixed in law. When one party wants the process to go slowly, that clock can be used to delay the proceedings indefinitely. Sanderbeck’s attorney has until Sept. 1st to file an answer to Covatch’s suit in Court. Until then, we will have to wait to see the reason Piper is still not home. And Piper waits – held by strangers from those who love her. Who now needs rescuing? Who now is being abused? Why is this dog being used to push an agenda that has nothing to do with her. What IS that agenda? But mostly, everyone wants to know WHY is Piper not home! Where IS piper? Someone must have seen this dog!
As the media attention grows, the following statement was made by Piper’s owner:
“Supporters gathered outside Cohen Law Offices in Columbus Ohio Tuesday while I was filmed by local TV station NCB4i, begging COSR to let me “Bring Piper Home” (Interview to be aired locally on Thursday).
Her interview will be featured on NCB4i on Aug. 14, during the 6pm news. Hopefully, there will be more answers coming…