A British Columbia woman who believed she was buying a specific type of dog will get some money back from the breeder thanks to a DNA test.
The case was heard by the province’s Civil Resolution Tribunal last week, and documents posted online outline the reasons for the CRT member’s decision.
As summarized by tribunal member Leah Volkers, the dog owner purchased “Dusty” from a woman who promised the pup was “7/8th Australian shepherd and 1/8th border collie.”
But it soon became apparent that Dusty is something else, according to his owner. She told the CRT that she believes she’s entitled to $2,000 – a partial refund of what she paid for the dog – because the dog is not what it was advertised as.
The seller, for her part, disputed the claims, saying she never guaranteed Dusty’s size, colour or appearance.
Both women represented themselves in the CRT case, at the heart of which is whether the seller breached the contract with the buyer, who paid $2,500 for the dog.
As part of her evidence, the buyer brought in DNA test results, showing Dusty’s genetic makeup does include both breeds, but also “15.5 per cent collie.”
Because the dog’s makeup was expressly stated in the purchase contract, the seller was found to have breached that contract.
Dusty’s owner did not want to give the dog back, but instead asked for some of her money back, saying she’d only agreed to pay the asking price because she believed Dusty was almost a purebred dog.
“She says she would not have agreed to purchase an Australian shepherd mix for $2,500 and it was not apparent at the time of purchase that Dusty was a ‘mixed 3 breed dog,'” Volkers summarized.
The owner estimated that the cost of mixed breed dogs ranges from $500 to $1,200, but she also submitted two recent advertisements she said were posted by the breeder.
One of the ads claims she’s selling “Australian (shepherd) with a bit of border collie” puppies for $1,500, and another is for Australian shepherd puppies for $2,000. The seller did not address these ads in her response submissions to the CRT.
“I accept that a dog that is 7/8th Australian shepherd will attract a higher price than a dog that is one-half Australian shepherd and one-half other breeds,” Volkers wrote.
“The two recent advertisements in evidence support this.”
But as for how much the buyer is actually entitled to, Volkers disagreed. She said at most the woman overpaid for her dog by $1,000, and settled on a refund for $500.
Dusty’s seller has been told to pay that amount, plus $1.85 in pre-judgment interest and $62.50 in tribunal fees, within 30 days of the April 22 ruling.