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Animal group files suit over pair of pups

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A northeast Queens animal rescue group has filed a lawsuit against a Long Island couple in an attempt to retrieve 3−year−old cocker spaniel Haley and her two new pups amid a dispute involving a contract to have the dog spayed.

Abandoned Angels, a Flushing group that rescues cocker spaniels, filed a suit in State Supreme Court against Northport, L.I., couple Edward and Mary Watson on the grounds that the pair did not honor a contract to have Haley spayed and neutered.

But Edward Watson said the group did not send him and his wife a contract until after the couple had taken the dog home in October.

He said he had agreed to have the dog spayed three weeks after adopting her, but decided to postpone the procedure once the couple found out the spaniel was pregnant. The dog recently gave birth to pups Bailey and Marley, Watson said.

“My wife called [Abandoned Angels] to tell them not to pick the dog up because she was pregnant,” he said. “They wanted the dog back and I told them, ‘You’re not getting her back.’ We’d heard nothing about a contract.”

Watson said the group sent a contract to the couple in the mail shortly after they took Haley home last month. But he said his attorney found the contract to be unreasonable and urged him not to sign it.

“They threatened to come on our property and take the dogs,” he said. “Now we can’t even sit outside in peace without worrying that someone will come up and rip the dog from us.”

He said the couple, who took Haley home for $350, had also previously adopted a dog from the group.

Abandoned Angels filed a suit against the Watsons last month. The group did not return calls for comment.

In a statement on its Web site, the group accuses the couple of not following through on an agreed−upon spaying and neutering of Haley.

“[The dog] was released on a spay⁄neuter contract as she was being treated for an infection at the time of adoption and could not undergo surgery for several weeks,” the statement read. “Our vet had examined the dog and assured us that she was not pregnant.

“All attempts to negotiate a reasonable compromise with the Watsons have failed. Had the Watsons agreed to spay, neuter and microchip the pups and to comply with their contractual obligations to bring [Haley] in for spay, this matter would never have been brought to the courts.”

But Edward Watson said he believed the dog was not closely checked before being released to the couple.

“The dog was checked out by Abandoned Angels’ vet, so it’s not our fault,” he said. “Nobody knew she was pregnant.”

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

Posted 6:37 pm, October 10, 2011
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