Bode, Photo Courtesy YouCaring

Service Dog Stolen: Thief Refuses To Return Dog Despite Court Order

Carmella Patterson adopted a six-year-old lab/border collie mix from the Seattle Animal Shelter in March 2014. She named the dog Bode, and he was microchipped to her and became a beloved family member. She stated that she had trained other dogs, and began training Bode as a service dog for her husband, Samuel. Her husband, 65, has numerous illnesses. He had strokes, is aphasic, and had numerous surgeries, including a heart transplant. Patterson said that Bode was a natural in helping her husband feel better and excelled as a service dog in training. She stated the following according to the Examiner.

“I’ve trained a lot of dogs, and there’s just something special about Bode. Bode would literally jump up on the bed and snuggle with my husband. He’s a very intuitive dog. When he’s in the nursing home, he knows what his job is.”

But a problem arose. Bode was previously owned by a woman named Laura Beebe. Bode was at the Seattle Animal Shelter for months before being adopted by the Pattersons. The shelter tried to contact Beebe, but after months passed, the legal ownership transferred to the shelter and ultimately to Patterson. Even Carmella Patterson attempted to contact Beebe after realizing there was a prior owner. But Patterson said that Beebe screamed at her, tracing where Patterson lived through the telephone number, according to USA Online Post.

Carmella, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and walks with a walking stick, stated that she was confronted by Beebe and Beebe’s daughter in late June 2014. “She and her daughter were calling out to the dog, and I said, ‘Do you know this dog?’ They took the harness and leash and ran off. She was screaming at me. She’s 35 and I’m 64–I couldn”t keep up with them.”

Patterson contacted the police. Ultimately, the matter was decided in court. On September 26, 2014, King County prosecuted Beebe for felony theft in the first degree in State v. Beebe. A King County jury convicted Beebe of felony theft in the first degree on June 11, 2015. Despite winning in court, Carmella Patterson has not received Bode back and has since suffered cardiac failure. The Patterson family indicated that they also suffered severe emotional distress as a result of losing their beloved canine.

The King County Superior Court judge ordered the return of Bode to Patterson on or before August 12, 2015, at 5:00 p.m. However, because of limited financial resources, Patterson was not able to pay the bonds that have to be posted to get the dog back. In order to have Bode returned, Patterson had to post a bond of $1,000 in favor of Beebe and an indemnity bond to the Pierce County Sheriff for $5,000. Animal law attorney Adam Karp paid the $300 in premiums for the $1,000 and $5,000 bonds, and the $250 deposit to the sheriff to retrieve the dog. The Patterson family is raising funds to pay the attorney back and for other related fees, and a link is found here.

Service dogs help many people with disabilities, including veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. An Army war veteran with PTSD was refused a table because he was accompanied by a service dog. The restaurant later apologized, according to an article in the Inquisitr.

[Photo Courtesy YouCaring]