A New Hampshire man violated his contract with a Maine dog breeder by having a golden retriever spayed, rather than allowing the kennel where the dog was born to breed her and sell her puppies, according to a new lawsuit.
Goldiva Goldens LLC and its owner, Mary Dickinson Cashin, 62, of Cumberland, claim that they are owed at least $225,000, the estimated amount they would have made by selling the puppies.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Portland, was filed in federal court because the parties live in different states.
The complaint claims that Adam F. Cail, 47, of Greenland, New Hampshire, violated the purchase agreement for a female puppy officially named Goldiva’s Elegantly Balanced but called Pinot, by having her spayed.
Under the contract, Cashin remained the owner of the dog, but Cail would keep the dog for life while permitting the kennel to show and breed Pirate, the complaint said. Cail was not allowed to have her spayed and would be liable for the lost revenue from sale of the puppies if he did, the contract allegedly said.
It was estimated that Pirate, born on April 16, 2020, and registered with the American Kennel Club, would have had four to five litters of puppies with an average of eight puppies per litter, according to the complaint. The puppies would sell for between $3,500 and $7,000 each.
By having Pirate spayed, Cail allegedly ended Cashin’s ownership of a championship bloodline.
“Pirate was under contract to be a show and breeding dog,” the complaint, filed by Cashin’s attorney, Fred W. Bopp III of Yarmouth, said. “Pirate is from an all champion pedigree for five generations, which had the ability to have future litters, and Pirate’s ability to participate in Cashin’s champion breeding program has been forever lost by the fact that Cail had Pirate spayed.”
In May 2021, Cashin began texting Cail to ask if Pirate had come into heat yet, but Cail did not respond, according to the complaint. She continued contacting him without success through the following March without receiving a response.
On April 1, Cashin visited the Cail home and took possession of Pirate in anticipation of taking her to a pre-breeding appointment two days later, which was allowed under the contract, the complaint said.
Cail went to the kennel on April 3 and unsuccessfully tried to get the dog back.
Cashin learned three days later, on April 6, that Pirate had been spayed. The dog remains at the kennel, according to the complaint.
Cail’s attorney, Christian Foster of Portland, said that Cashin is, in essence, holding the dog for “a $225,000 ransom.” She has access to 22 other female dogs for breeding, the lawyer said Thursday.
“It is unconscionable that a puppy breeder would drive across state lines to fraudulently take a dog from a single dad and his three young children and then refuse to return her unless a $225,000 ransom is paid,” Foster said. “Pirate has been spayed, so there is no conceivable reason to keep her from her family other than to continue to inflict severe emotional distress upon the Cails. The contract is ambiguous, but absolutely does not provide for a right of repossession under these circumstances.”
The Cails offered to pay Cashin $7,000, the retail value of a spayed female, but that offer was rejected, according to Foster.
“This litigation is a major financial hardship for the family, but the Cails look forward to their day in court and are confident that they will prevail,” he said. “They want Pirate returned home as soon as possible.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an incorrect reference to the golden retriever’s ownership.