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Breeder Sues Pet Owner for Defamation Over Dog’s Death


A pet owner from Olathe, Kansas, suffered the loss of her canine companion after he fell ill and died. In an unexpected twist, she is now facing a defamation lawsuit from the breeder, as per FOX 4. This occurred after the woman took to Facebook to investigate if other dog owners who purchased from the same breeder experienced similar problems. Though the lawsuit was subsequently dismissed, the breeder’s lawyer said that this was not the end of the case.

Mary Dixon’s first Border Collie was named Toby. “It’s one thing to lose a family pet. It’s another to lose the teammate that you competed with,” she stated. Dixon shared how she would often bring Toby to Olathe North High School where they would play and work on his frisbee-catching skills.

Toby became part of Dixon’s life in 2015 when she purchased him from Nightshades Border Collies located near Wichita. “He was sick unfortunately when I got him,” Dixon said. She added that Toby tragically suffered multiple seizures in one night, about two years after she brought him home. Dixon described the sight as dreadful to watch as the animal struggled with breathing, tense muscles, and a loss of bladder control.

When Dixon attempted to contact the breeder via Facebook for assistance, she was blocked. Consequently, she started her own Facebook page to seek relevant information. Many people shared awful experiences, with several inquiring about hip dysplasia. To her surprise, it transformed into a form of “support group.”

Owners of Nightshades Border Collies take action against Dixon

Earlier this year, Dixon was sued by Nightshades Border Collies’ owners for defamation. The owners, Merry and Amy Gumm, reside in Cowley County. As such, that is the jurisdiction where the lawsuit was lodged — according to their lawyer, Jerry Bogle. Bogle refuted claims of his clients holding negativity towards Humane Society activists. Moreover, he argued that the Gumms have an immense love for dogs.

In order to substantiate their case, Bogle revealed that he had a comprehensive 13-page petition comprising 70 paragraphs. This document allegedly illustrates derogatory Facebook comments directed towards his clients.

Bogle said, “These negative things that were being said were not accurate, and as a result, it was causing them, number one, to reduce their livelihood and to defame them.” He continued, “number two, to defame them, not only in the area of their business, but also as to people that they knew.”

Despite this, a Cowley County judge dismissed the lawsuit. The judge ruled in a pre-trial motion that state law protects Dixon and other defendants named in the case as their claims revolve around the defendants’ freedom of speech. Furthermore, the judge rejected a claim for business defamation, citing its lack of recognition under Kansas law.

Concerning defamation itself, the judge articulated that Dixon and the rest of the accused conveyed their “own views, opinions, beliefs or experience based on numerous other posts on social media, their own experiences or those reported by others,” including other clients of the breeder.

According to the judge, the breeder did not sufficiently show any damages. In addition, Nightshades Border Collies were ordered to compensate the defendants with almost $35,000 to cover legal fees. However, the breeder has contested the ruling. Bogle added, “And when we win the appeal, those fees will disappear.”


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