Event: Pre-trial for Veronica Wagner Covatch vs Penny G. Sanderbeck (COSR)
Case: Case No. 2014 CVF 024571
Pre-trial Date: Thu., 5/21/15
Pre-trial Time: 10:30 AM
Court Action: On July 28, 2014 Veronica Covatch filed a Complaint for Replevin and Conversion action in the Franklin County Municipal Court, in Columbus Ohio, against COSR seeking the return of her dog known as Legacies Pipe Dream (Piper).
Presiding Judge: Michael Brandt
Rescue Refuses to Return Runaway Sheltie (Piper)
By: Denise Yost, NBC 4
August 15, 2014
News video: http://www.nbc4i.com/story/26284026/rescue-group-refuses-to-return-runaway-sheltie
COLUMBUS, Ohio - A battle over a champion show dog is now exploding on the Internet – and it's centered on Columbus.
Piper is a 5-year-old show dog, a champion Sheltie worth tens of thousands of dollars.
"She's a companion. She's a lap dog, and my bed buddy above everything else," said her owner, Veronica Covatch.
To Covatch, she is also a member of her family.
"I love her to death. I wouldn't be fighting to get her back if I didn't," she said.
Covatch is fighting because, for four months, the Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue has refused to return Piper to her owner.
The fight is now a full-fledged legal battle.
"A show dog is a perishable commodity," said Lloyd Cohen, Covatch's attorney.
Piper and her owner live in Punxatawney, Pa., but the dog was brought to Columbus four months ago, to be placed in the care of a friend over Easter weekend.
But Piper escaped on Good Friday, and was picked up by Franklin County Animal Control. The organization quickly discovered that she had a microchip, which proved that she belonged to someone.
"They were one phone call away, as was the shelter from having the owners information and they did not follow through," Covatch said.
Instead of tracking down Piper's owner, the county turned over the dog to the Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue, which operates out of the east side of Columbus.
Covatch tracked Piper to the facility.
"I called the Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue, and I got a voicemail, so I left a message, 'I think you have my dog,'" Covatch said.
But there was no response, despite repeated attempts.
"I posted a picture of my dog on their website, and begged them to call me. I just wanted my dog back, and I got no response, begged them to call me," she said.
Penny Sanderbeck, who runs the rescue, claims that Covatch is no longer the rightful owner of Piper.
The National Sheltie Rescue Network disagreed with Sanderbecks' refusal to return Piper, and tried to intervene. But, officials said they couldn't get Sanderbeck to cooperate.
A coordinator for the group in Utah confirmed that Sanderbeck and the Central Ohio rescue have been removed from the network, saying, "We don't support this kind of behavior. We can't continue to have her part of our network."
Sanderbeck refused to speak to NBC4, but her attorney John Bell said, "Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue is the owner of the dog now, but that question of ownership does not mean that the dog would not go back to someone who had him before, or had her before. It's just a legal question. Once the dog comes out of the shelter to the rescue, it's the rescue's dog and that's the end of it."
But the fact is that the fight over Piper is far from over -- with a costly court case and questions of animal and owner rights now hanging in the balance.