Puppy Controversy: Legal Dispute Over Rescued Dogs Gains National Attention

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A judge in in Las Vegas recently handled a lawsuit involving rescued puppies that has gained national attention. Two former Las Vegas pet shop owners attempted to sue a local animal shelter in what became an intriguing and peculiar case.

With images of the caged puppies circulating in the media and animal-rights activists learning of the case, a small lawsuit quickly snowballed into a national issue. Below is a discussion of the case’s details and the resolution that followed.

Case Details

According to a report from MSN News, two Las Vegas pet-shop owners attempted to burn down their store in an attempt to receive insurance money. This attempted insurance fraud put animals in the store in direct danger, as 27 dogs were rescued from the flames by firefighters.

After being rescued, an organization known as The Animal Foundation, which received the puppies, had plans to raffle them off by selling $250 tickets to potential owners. This raffle would help to support the nonprofit organization in caring for other animals as it faces challenges to provide food, pay medical expenses or find a pet wash to keep the dogs clean.

This was not to be the case, as the original owner of the pet store and current insurance-fraud suspect opened a lawsuit against this nonprofit organization. Pet-store owner Donald Thompson and his wife argued they still own the dogs and the animal shelter has no right to raffle them off. In an attempt to quell the national attention that this animal-rights case was receiving, the judge ordered the two parties to settle the disagreement by May 5.


Pet-shop owner Thompson feels as if he is being robbed. As the individual who initially purchased the dogs and invested resources into them, he will be missing out on a potential profit if they are taken from his ownership.

Despite this point of view, the opposing party’s point is much more valid, as Thompson failed to consider the dogs’ well-being. In my opinion, the two pet-shop owners lost the rights to their former animals with their irresponsible actions. Setting fire to their shop and neglecting to consider the animals is a clear indication that these individuals didn’t care about the dogs and don’t deserve to maintain ownership.

Animal shelters serve as organizations that take animals from harmful situations and give them a chance at a finding new homes. It seems that this case fits that description perfectly, as Thompson and his wife are clearly not pet-owner material. Also, the fact that these two individuals are currently in jail for insurance fraud means they won’t be able to care for pets in the first place.

While the judge in this case has attempted to settle it in a more casual fashion, it doesn’t seem likely that either party will back down. While Thompson’s logic is flawed, it is doubtful that he will willingly forfeit what he views to be his property. The Animal Foundation is also likely to stand its ground as this has developed into a controversial animal-rights issue. Regardless of the outcome, this is unlikely to be the last that we hear about the puppy debate in Las Vegas.

Photo credit: Joakim Berndes via photopin cc

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Courtney Gordner is a blogger/journalist who loves writing about anything and everything! You can read more from her on her blog, www.talkviral.com
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  • David Ozanne

    After this is over, the Thompsons will probably go into politics. Their behavior is fitting for that occupation.

  • blackhawk132

    I love animals.I feed birds and squerels .I have 1 dog and 3 cats .I am totally against mistreating ANY animal. However , If we paid as much attention to aborting 59 million babies ;What do we expect ;Especially so called doctors that do the cruel operation with out respect to their oath.