Steve Svehla (pictured) is being charged with felony theft after lying to a family about the death of a dog
A dog who was the subject of a two-year court battle and a faked death is back with his adopted family in Missouri.
KSDK-TV reports that Jamie Patterson and her seven kids adopted Mack the boxer-mastiff mix from Rough Road Rescue in Perryville in 2015.
‘He definitely speaks with us… He’s very human like,’ Patterson told the broadcaster.
It turned out that Mack was quite the escape artist. The last time he wandered off, Rough Road Rescue director Steve Svehla found him and decided to keep him, accusing Patterson of neglect.
‘An animal stays around where they’re wanted,’ said Svehla. ‘I don’t have anything against the family. But they should have a stuffed animal and set it on the couch. There’s a lot of chaos going on over there,’ Svehla added.
A two-year court battle ensued, with Svehla arguing that the Pattersons had not met the requirements of Mack’s adoption contract which included, among other things, a fenced yard.
Jamie Patterson (pictured left) and her seven kids adopted Mack (R) the boxer-mastiff mix from Rough Road Rescue in 2015
A two-year court battle ensued, with Svehla arguing that the Pattersons had not met the requirements of Mack’s adoption contract
‘Our contract is written to protect the animal,’ Svehla told KSDK-TV.
Without the yard, Rough Road Rescue’s contract stated it could repossess Mack.
Patterson said that they had a yard when they adopted Mack, but moved to smaller home without the required lawn soon after. On that basis, Svehla decided to keep the dog, saying that the terms of their agreement had been violated.
A judge in the case ruled in favor of the Pattersons, and ordered Svehla to relinquish him over to the family (Pictured: Tim Sansone, an attorney for the Pattersons)
That’s when the attorneys got involved, reported KSDK-TV.
‘Rough Road Rescue took the position they had a long leash on Mack and at any time they could yank that leash and take him back,’ said attorney Tim Sansone, who represented the Pattersons in the matter.
Soon after, the judge in the case ruled in favor of the family, saying the mastiff mix belongs to the family.
But instead of handing over Max, Svehla gave Patterson a box of ashes, saying the dog died.
The Rough Road Rescue director, According to Patterson, told them that Mack had died of an infection.
‘He pulled up and got out and said, “I’m sorry for your loss” and handed us this box, and just left… My kids believe it. They were crying, they thought Mack was actually dead,’ she added.
But after the judge heard about the circumstances of the dogs death through local media, he ordered an investigation into the canine’s passing.
Despite his his stint in jail and the felony charge, Svehla still claims he acted in the dog’s best interest
That’s when Svehla fessed up to the lie, and gave up the dog. After the fabrication was exposed, the judge sent Svehla to a night in jail for contempt of court.
Svehla has also been charged with felony theft for failing to turn over Mack immediately after the case ended.
Explaining his actions, Svehla told KSDK-TV: ‘I grabbed a dog that I got cremated and I took it up there and I lied. It’s the truth. The truth about a lie. It sounds bad.’
Despite his his stint in jail and the felony charge, Svehla still claims he acted in the dog’s best interest.
‘What it comes down to was to protect animals. We didn’t pick on Ms. Patterson like a vulture. I don’t know them. I don’t understand why it’s so wrong to fight for these animals,’ said Svehla.
As for Mack, the Pattersons say the dog is happy and is doing just fine.