Judge Rob Rinder, ITV’s answer to America’s Judge Judy, ‘tries’ the case of Manea sanctuary owner and an angry pet owner
- Credit: Archant
Animal sanctuary owner Kay Mitchell is refusing to hand over a dog in her care despite being told to do so by a judge on a TV show because she doesn’t think the owner is “fit to have him.”
Miss Mitchell appeared on Judge Rinder - Britain’s answer to Judge Judy - after being challenged by a pet owner named only as Julie on the ITV show that airs daily at 2pm.
The women were in dispute over a £2,954.71 vet bill racked up by Miss Mitchell, including having one dog neutered, while she was looking after Julie’s dogs, and also ownership of one of the dogs.
Julie told Judge Robert Rinder that she had given over the care of her two dogs: Ruby a Labrador cross and Henry, a Jack Russell to Miss Mitchell on a temporary basis while she moved home.
Miss Mitchell refused to return Henry and Julie only got Ruby back because she escaped through an open window while Miss Mitchell was out.
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“Unfortunately Henry was too short to jump out,” she told the TV Judge
Miss Mitchell, who runs Tara’s Refuge in Wimblington Road, Manea, told the programme she currently looks after 14 dogs, 11 cats and one pony and shares her bed with several of the dogs including a Great Dane and Henry.
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She normally takes in elderly pets left when their owners have died or been forced to go into residential care.
However, she agreed to look after Julie’s dogs as a one-off favour on payment of a £3 per day boarding fee, plus food costs and any vet bills, in May last year.
Single mum Julie, who could not afford normal boarding kennel costs, agreed to the terms and signed a “contract” produced by Miss Mitchell during the show. Julie was to collect the dogs sometime in June or July once she was settled in her new home.
However, during their time with Miss Mitchell, Henry went off his food and checks showed he had problems with his teeth and gums.
“His breath would have felled an elephant,” she told Judge Rinder.
She took him to the vets and arranged for dental treatment and to have a suspected hernia operated on and decided to have Henry neutered while he was under anaesthetic.
Miss Mitchell, who told Judge Rinder she had strong views on pet neutering, refused to return the dogs to Julie when she went to collect them in July.
Julie openly wiped tears from her eyes as she heard her pet had been castrated and said she had not wanted him neutered.
Judge Rinder praised Miss Mitchell for her dedication to animals and said he understood how the pets she took in were like her family.
But he said Henry belonged to Julie who he described as a “fair, decent and responsible owner.”
“It is time to hand Henry back to his lawful owner,” he told Miss Mitchell.
He also told Julie to pay £728.01 towards the vet bill for the cost of the dental treatment only and a further £52.50 food costs.
Speaking at the end of the show, when confronted by Julie, Miss Mitchell said: “I don’t think you are fit to have him. I’m not giving him back. I’m keeping him because I like him, he is a nice little dog and he deserves better.”
She also defended having the dog neutered.
“A lump in his groin turned out to be a testicle and while he was having that removed I decided to have him castrated - it was not unreasonable,” she said.