Lakewood group doesn’t drop lawsuit after dog is returned

A dog that spawned a lawsuit has been returned to a Lakewood animal-rescue group, but the legal action against the woman accused of making off with the black lab mix isn’t going away.

A lawyer representing Purrrsons United for the Rescue, Rehabilitation and Relocation of Animals, or PURRR, said last week that the dog, Chance, was returned to the organization in late October.

The group had sued Tracee Kirby in September, contending she agreed to provide a foster home for Chance but failed to return the dog as required by a contract she signed. PURRR officials tried to negotiate the return of the dog but sued when the efforts failed, the group’s attorney, Adam Karp, told The News Tribune.

The group sought return of the dog or a court order allowing PURRR officials to break into Kirby’s home and retrieve Chance should she not surrender the dog voluntarily.

“Thieves should not be rewarded,” Karp said at the time.

Kirby told The News Tribune last month her niece and daughter had obtained the dog from its previous owners. Chance was in Montana and would never be returned, she said.

Kirby, who also goes by Tracee Wilson, said she had begun an investigation of PURRR because members of the group allegedly had been rude to her daughter and niece.

But on Oct. 23, Kirby emailed Karp to say her niece “has admitted to taking (Chance) from PURRR.”

“She has brought Chance back so he can be returned,” Kirby wrote in the email, which Karp shared with The News Tribune.

Kirby’s daughter later delivered the dog to PURRR officials.

Efforts to reach Kirby for comment were unsuccessful Monday.

Karp maintained last week it was Kirby who took the dog from PURRR, not her niece as she says, and neither he nor PURRR is in a forgiving mood.

“PURRR has not dismissed the lawsuit,” Karp said. “Ms. Wilson/Kirby and any other alleged co-conspirators will still be pursued for the damages and fees incurred by PURRR, a nonprofit corporation that should not have needed to file suit to get back the dog.”