A Minnesota dog owner has reached a legal settlement with a breeder whom he accused of vengefully neutering his champion bichon frise without permission, the two sides said today. John Wangsness sued Vickie Halstead, from whom he had originally bought the dog, Beau Lemon, for more than $50,000 in damages and ownership of eight vials of frozen semen that he said Halstead got from the dog before she neutered it. The dog was ranked second-best in its breed by the American Kennel Club for 2011 and 2012, which was the year it was retired from competition. In his lawsuit, Wangsness said Halstead asked to use the dog for breeding in June 2013 but that she instead neutered it. An attorney for Wangsness, Larry Leventhal, said Halstead was angry that Wangsness had allowed another breeder to try to use the dog for breeding.
In an affidavit, Halstead claimed that her contract to breed Beau Lemon didn't restrict her from neutering him, and that she did so because she was concerned about his health. "It was definitely not out of vengefulness. The priority was the welfare of the dog," Halstead told the AP. Leventhal disputed that contention. "She claimed Beau was in ill health. But he was examined by his veterinarian not long before she had him neutered ... and the doctor found him to be in excellent health," he said. As for the frozen semen, Halstead's attorney, Joseph Crosby, said it belongs to Beau Lemon's brother, Beau Jangles, and that the confusion is due to their similar names. Both Halstead and Leventhal said they couldn't discuss the terms of the settlement due to a confidentiality agreement, but Halstead said she was glad to put the matter behind her. "It's a relief that this is over," she said.