Schmidt drops lawsuit over possession of Buster
A lawsuit over possession of Buster, a dog rescued from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, has been dropped.Buster is among 10 dogs that Sue Schmidt brought back to Colorado from New Orleans. Schmidt, of Silt, is a dog trainer and former CARE board member. Buster is being housed at the CARE shelter near Glenwood Springs after biting CARE director Leslie Rockey at Schmidt’s home in Silt on Oct. 21. Schmidt wants to take custody of Buster, because she is concerned that CARE has declared him unadoptable and will ultimately put him to death. She has taken the shelter to court over the matter, saying she is entitled to take possession of the dog.Schmidt dropped the suit Monday.”The primary reason (she filed the suit) was because I was concerned about Buster’s welfare,” she said. “The owner has been found … and that is the prime reason the suit has gone away.”Schmidt has also been in touch with the son of Buster’s owner, Angelo Kingvalsky, who is in temporary housing in Dallas since being evacuated from the Ninth Ward in New Orleans.According to Schmidt, Kingvalsky wrote her a letter last week asking her to take custody of Buster until he can make his mother’s house livable again. He expected to have his mother, Lydia Kingvalsky, and himself reinstalled in their respective homes in New Orleans after Christmas, Schmidt said.CARE has no objection to the arrangement but must receive written confirmation from the Kingvalskys that Lydia is indeed Buster’s owner and that they want him transferred to Schmidt.”I told Angelo that whatever he wanted we would do,” said Tracy Yajko, CARE spokeswoman. “If he wants the dog to go to Sue we will respect that, but not without (him) filling out the paperwork” that relieves CARE of liability for Buster.She also said Angelo Kingvalsky “started to sound kind of on the fence” about moving the dog to Schmidt’s home when they spoke on the phone the day before Thanksgiving. Yajko said she explained to him that Buster was safe and well confined at CARE while at Schmidt’s there was no guarantee he would be under the same safeguards.”We don’t want to be difficult, but (the transfer) can’t happen without Sue guaranteeing that she’s taken precaution” to prevent him from getting loose, Yajko said.CARE’s attorney Bob Noone also filed a counter claim against Schmidt Monday to recoup attorney’s fees and other court costs.”We believe Sue Schmidt’s claims were frivolous and groundless and she knew it and deliberately asked the court to maintain her claim of ownership despite an affidavit” from the national organizations overseeing rescue efforts in Louisiana which said dogs had to be released to the care of an animal shelter, not private individuals, Noone said.”We’ll abide by whatever the judge decides,” he said.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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