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The Warehouseman’s Lien Act creates a possessory lien where a dog owner transfers his or her dog(s) to the owner of a kennel

Nova Scotia

,

Canada

In Gaudet v. Folland, 2021 PECA 12, the respondent, the owner of two border collies, left her dogs with Gaudet, the owner of a dog kennel business for temporary boarding.  There was a one-page contract to indicate the dogs were to stay for one night and one day at a cost of $10 per dog. The one-page document included a sentence that gave the appellant the right to take the dogs to a veterinary clinic if the dogs “need veterinary care”.

After nearly a month, during which the respondent extended the stay at least three times, the appellant sent the respondent an invoice for $860.69 which included a sum for veterinary fees.

The respondent advised the appellant that she would only pay $20 and asked for the return of her dogs. The appellant refused to return the dogs until payment of kennel fees and the veterinarian’s bill.  The dogs remained in the appellant’s possession.

The Trial Judge’s Decision

The trial judge found that the existence of the unpaid balance did not entitled the respondent to remain in possession of the dogs. The appellant’s continued possession of the dogs beyond December 16, 2017 constituted detinue and entitled the respondent to damages. He assessed those damages at $860.69 and applied set-off to the appellant’s claim.

The Application of the Warehousemen’s Lien Act

The Prince Edward Island Court of Appeal held that the trial judge made an error of law by not considering the Warehouseman’s Lien Act, RSPEI 1988, W-1 (the “Act”). The Act created a possessory lien over the dogs when the  respondent transferred the dogs to the appellant for kennel services.  The definition of “goods” in s.1(a) includes personal property of every description that may be deposited with a warehouseman as bailee.  This includes dogs as dogs are personal property (para 9). The possessory lien gave the appellant the right to retain the dogs until charges incurred in respect thereof had been paid (para 10). The appellant therefore did not wrongfully retain the dogs (para 10).

Return of the Dogs

Since the dogs had been returned to the respondent, the lien was extinguished.

Result

The appellant’s appeal of the Supreme Court order for damages in favour of the respondent against the appellant in detinue is allowed.  The appellant’s judgment against the respondent for $860.69 stood. The appellant’s appeal for return to her possession of the dogs was dismissed.

April 14, 2022
Gaudet v. Folland, 2021 PECA 12