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Every dog has its day: Pup’s alleged allergies focal point in small claims dispute

The couple fought for a refund, arguing the dog had allergies, but it turns out they were barking up the wrong tree.
A B.C. couple sought a refund after they alleged a puppy they purchased developed a severe allergy on its paws.

Whether or not Kolya the dog had allergies was at the centre of a B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal decision released on June 26.

Natalia and Mikhail Molchanova sought a $3,500 refund for the dog’s purchase from Dina Osadchaya. But they were barking up the wrong tree.

The case centred on the Molchanovas’ claim that they had told Osadchaya they needed a dog without any allergies before the purchase. She allegedly told them Kolya had none. But the dog developed a severe allergy on his paws within four days of purchase.

The couple attempted to return Kolya but were refused a refund. They then decided to see the tribunal about a dog.

Osadchaya told the tribunal the couple wasn’t entitled to a refund as the dog is without allergies and is perfectly healthy.

Tribunal member Leah Volkers noted in her decision that although Osadchaya provided a written contract in evidence that she typically uses in puppy sales, it was undisputed that the Molchanovas did not see or sign this contract before purchasing Kolya.

“So I find it does not apply,” Volkers said.

And, Volkers said, while there was also little evidence before her about the parties’ oral agreement, it was undisputed that the sale included a term that Kolya would be healthy and free of allergies.

“The applicants do not allege that there was any agreement about being able to return Kolya to the respondents at any time for a full refund,” Volkers said. “I find the evidence does not show the parties agreed to any specified refund terms when the respondents purchased Kolya.”

The Molchanovas said when they picked up Kolya on Aug. 6, 2022, he had a rash on his legs, and Osadchaya assured them it was from cuts from playing outside that would heal in time.

The Molchanovas said that after four days, Kolya developed a severe allergy on his paws, leaving them red with broken skin. 

Volkers said photographs of one of Kolya’s paws showed redness and videos of him chewing on and scratching his paws. However, Volkers said the video did not prove the dog was unhealthy or having an ongoing allergic reaction or allergy.

Osadchaya provided a veterinary report from an examination of Kolya after he was returned.

Volkers said in that report the vet observed “mild follicular rush as the dorsum, suspect sebaceous gland impaction” and noted that it was “not a concern” and “specific for the breed” and would resolve with age. The vet also noted no irritation on the skin and assessed Kolya as “apparently healthy.”

“I find this evidence shows Kolya was healthy and allergy-free at the time of purchase and continued to be healthy and allergy-free after being returned to the respondent,” Volkers said.

As such, Volkers said, there was no breach of contract.

She found evidence showing Osadchaya offered a 75 percent refund, but no agreement was reached.

“So, I find that offer is not binding on (Osadchaya). It follows that I find the applicants are not entitled to a refund of a portion of Kolya’s purchase price on that basis,” Volkers said. “I find the (Molchanovas) have not proved the respondent misrepresented Kolya’s health, nor breached the contract or (Sale of Goods Act), or that they are entitled to any refund. So, I dismiss the applicants’ claims.”