It’s a dog’s life. Or was.

The Small Claims Tribunal orders Relopet, the international dog relocation specialists, to give HK$47,000 to one Claire Buckley.

The story goes back to early April, when the lady’s canine Jay bolted from the cargo area at Hong Kong airport rather than board a flight for London. “Jay escaped,” said the company’s boss, “because Claire asked us to put his favourite toy in the cage. On her instructions we opened the cage and Jay was a very big, very strong dog and he forced his way past two of my employees.”

“After two very emotional and financially difficult weeks for all involved JAY has still not been found,” those of us eagerly following the story subsequently learned. Then, about two weeks ago, came the grievous denouement, the discovery of a corpse in a ditch. (Do not scroll down and read the comments. Do not.) So off to the Tribunal Ms Buckley went.

The award comprised: $28,530 refund (the creature was flying Business Class); $13,486 for costs incurred during the search (not bad since she and volunteers were looking all day every day for weeks); and $5,000 compensation for stress and inconvenience.

The latter relatively trivial amount suggests that the mini-court considered the dog’s life to have no value and saw the case simply as a consumer protection one. However, Ms Buckley is quoted in Tuesday’s SCMP as saying that “Jay was like my child.”

A very big, very strong child that forced its way past two adult people in its determination to flee. Will she and the disturbed expatriate women’s canine-worship cult at Hong Kong Dog Rescue (the Schindler’s Ark for mutts that originally kept Jay from the Agriculture and Fisheries Department’s Treblinka) somehow one day reconcile this contradiction? It’s not “like a child”. It’s not part of a human family. It’s an animal. They bite. They run.

Probably not (yes I scrolled down)…

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16 Responses to It’s a dog’s life. Or was.

  1. Dog Lover says:

    Walking out of my flat this morning, I stepped carefully over the big pile of dog poo nestling by the side of the building, picked my way gingerly thru the river of dog urine by the litter bin, made sure my kids didnt get scared by another of mans best friends and run into the road only to be hit by a car. Just another day in paradise…..its a dogs world I tell ya

  2. Howler says:

    While IT-banking professional Buckley had had her day in court, I wonder if she will be sharing the proceeds with the dog rescue lot (where Jay apparently originally came from) and/or the other volunteers that came to her aid.

  3. Russ Weatherwax says:

    I hope someone writes a nice elegy for me like that lady from India did for that dead dog, but I doubt it will happen.


  4. Gandhi says:

    Dog hater. The sad thing is that people who hate dogs usually hate humans too.

  5. Maugrim says:

    I love dogs, but you have to laugh at the mawkish pomposity on display in the article. The dog has left its mark in the doggy community? I hope no one steps in it.

    It reminds me of this week’s other event where John Travolta’s dogs were brought to an airfield, (presumably he was flying his own plane) and were crushed by a service cart. Maybe in hindsight, an aircraft taxiway is not the best place for a dog to be. The same goes for the risk involved in transporting an animal 10,000 km at 39,000 feet.

  6. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    “I wonder if she will be sharing the proceeds with the dog rescue lot … and/or the other volunteers that came to her aid.”

    I don’t know the lady, but I suspect she probably would. I’m a pretty miserable bastard myself when it comes to charity but I chuck a good amount of money their way as my wife got my mutt from HKDR and he’s more than paid back whatever cash she paid in terms of unconditional love (something you’ll never see from my – or any – wife).

    I’d be very upset if my dog died but you wouldn’t see me posting tributes to him on the internet or exhibiting my grief to the press.

  7. Maugrim says:

    Hmmm, come to think Tiu Fu Fong, hot breath in your ear, a loving kiss, a smile, it beats ‘Hey, why you no buy me…….. la”?

  8. Sir Crispin says:

    “It’s an animal. They bite. They run.”

    Don’t impudent toddlers do that too?

  9. Terence Tse says:

    From what I understand, Claire Buckley’s “award” only comes from the Small Claims Court, and the Owner of Relopet/Relocasia, had already written to the Small-Claims requesting a change of date.
    Possibly this request was not noticed in time for the hearing, and Relopet was in no way present at the hearing to defend itself.
    As with all small-claims cases, any pre-dated request for date/venue change IS considered as a matter of “appeal”
    There is NO case of Relopet being “found guilty” of “negligence” , as the biased SCMP-reporter (revealing his ignorance of the legal situation) and the “canine-worship-cult” (I like that…very true) have victoriously reported.
    RATHER, Claire Buckley has (unfairly and possibly slanderously) accused Relopet of “negligence” (amongst other things). The Small Claims simply found “in-favour” of Claire Buckley, (not her charges, as no defence was available) in LIEU OF ABSENCE (of Relopet or representatives)

    If any appeal (including defence) is made by Relopet, this “award” could be easily turned over, and certain prominent Bloggers in this matter may well face counter claims for slander.

    PS I am NOT a Lawyer, nor am I a member of Relopet/Relocasia, and I am not related to anyone who is. I am friends with someone connected to the company and I have used the company before for my own dogs (Australia, very difficult paperwork)
    My dog is a bit of a “trouble-maker”, I would NEVER request someone open his crate, especially at an airport..I could imagine him causing a plane-crash.
    Relopet did an excellent job for me, and I know they have for many others.
    From what I hear, Claire Buckley’s dog was very “skittish” and only became her dog at around 2years old, after being rescued from the streets. It was not a well-socialised animal.

    I can’t help wondering how much of Claire Buckley’s “righteous anger” is really avoidance of confronting her OWN mistakes.

  10. Terence Tse says:

    Oh….I would ALSO like to point out that one of the most prominent and enthusiastic promoters of the blog-campaign against relopet accusing them of “negligence” is Stacy from Ferndale (I know this from my Vet).

    The hypocrite lost a dog herself before, and managed to hush up the incident (which is well-known in the P/R industry). I also understand Stacy is head of the IPATA (the supposed regulatory body for pet-relocators), and ASKED Claire Buckley to bring the “case” before HER to Judge (against her OWN business competitor).

    Other pet-relocation companies in Hong Kong have ALSO lost pets, and (as all their contracts state) none of them accepted responsibility.

    Yet these same people are fervently pushing the online campaign against Relopet, and even attempting to use their positions in “regulatory-panels” to harass their competitors?

    The whole thing WREAKS of petty corruption, and a frightened, ex-pat business-women that can’t stand seeing a better, younger company take “her” business.

    I DARE Stacy or any of her “supporters” to dispute ANY of this.

  11. Stacy says:

    Actually Terrence you need to get your facts right and only publish what you know as true and not hearsay. Fact is I have never said Relopet was negligence I was not there and this is to do with Relo pet and Claire not me. I would love to know who your vet is so I can follow this up with them as it is not true. Tell me where all the articles are that you say I am fervently pushing on line???? Actually I had to join GeoExpat today just to relpy to you, I don’t have time for this type of gossip it does no one any good, I am in the same business as relot pet, your baseless gossip helps none of us!

    I have only spoken to Claire about this incident because she approached me as an IPATA board member (not head of IPATA) which is NOT a regulatory board for pet shipper, just visit IPATA web site to find out about the organisation if you want to get your facts right) acutally I told Claire the only thing she could do with IPATA would be make a written complaint and then this would go up in front on the ethics comittie which I am NOT a part off. I told her I could not do anything for her.

    On the other subjet of a dog escaping from our van yes you are quite right on that ONE point but the rest is as much rubbish as everthing else you have written. Nothing was hushed up, I took full responsability even though it was a vet nurse that open the van door outside a clinic! The dog was in Ferndale’s care and we not only spent every day and night out looking for the dog until it was found we also paid the clients expenses and all their costs, so again get you facts right before you write.

    I feel sorry for you if you have so much time on your hands that this is all you can do. What do you have against expat business women any way? I am a bit confused about your last statement petty corruption, frightened expat business woman? why would I be frightened and what corruption? What do I get our of any of this?

  12. sunny says:

    Gandhi says:
    May 19, 2010 at 11:16 am
    Dog hater. The sad thing is that people who hate dogs usually hate humans too.

    Leona Helmsley would disagree, apparently the only living beings she ever loved were her bitches. She hated everyone else, including her members of her own family.

    Most fervent pet lovers seem to prefer animals to humans. I wonder if Claire Buckley could be as dedicated to children in need as she was to her dog. It’s extremely distasteful how she blew up this incident and milked it as much as she could.

  13. Delifiction says:

    Name: Claire
    Profession: IT specialist
    Penchant: using dogs as children substitutes
    Pricey as shrinks are, the award will be sufficient to pay for a few sessions at least

  14. Terence Tse says:

    Quote from Amy posted 18th April

    ” I had similar experience with Ferndale Kennel few years back then. They lost my dog, Spot, on the way to vet for kennel cough shot before going to kennel and Spot escaped because Tommy, the owner, did not secure Spot in van properly.

    It took 10 days to find Spot back somewhere in the hill in Sai Kung with limited help from Ferndale.

    Eventually I filed the case to Consumer Council and AFCD but they could not do much about it.

    The law in Hong Kong really does not protect pet owners against pet business people.”

    So Stacy, can you now state clearly in one direction or another, whether Relopet is NOT “negligent”…….OR …..that BOTH your company (Ferndale) and Relopet are “Negligent”??

    You can’t have it both ways!

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