The owner of the Tagish Dog Kennel has avoided being detained for civil contempt of court, as most of her dogs have been relocated.
Shelley Cuthbert appeared in court by phone Tuesday afternoon, with Justice Leigh Gower presiding. Several of her neighbours looked on.
Meagan Hannam, one of the lawyers representing the neighbours, said fewer than 10 dogs were found during the last inspection of Cuthbert’s property, which pleased the neighbours.
Hannam explained they want to give her time to continue her efforts to move the operation off the Tagish property.
Hannam suggested bringing the matter back to court on June 26.
Cuthbert interjected, saying there are only two dogs left on the property.
Gower asked if this meant Cuthbert is in compliance with the Oct. 11, 2017 court order he placed on her.
This order dictated that Cuthbert could only keep two dogs on her property – and they must be kept inside from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Cuthbert said she is now in compliance. Gower then agreed to set the next check-in on the matter to June 26.
Cuthbert has not disclosed to the court where she has moved the majority of her dogs, nor how she has done it.
She told the court last Thursday that the dogs would be moved off the property by the past Monday.
The Star asked Cuthbert where the dogs have been moved to. In an email today, she said the location will not be publicly disclosed.
Cuthbert has filed a $1-million defamation lawsuit against neighbours Stefan and Ursula Angerer, Leopold and Edeltraud Selinger, Gerry McGraw, Stefan Landfried, Emerald Gilespie, Anne Middler and Lisa Gallant. The suit was not discussed during Tuesday’s proceedings.
None of the neighbours in court yesterday were willing to comment due to the lawsuit.
Dan Moore, the executive director of the Yukon Humane Society’s Mae Bachur Shelter, said later Tuesday none of the dogs have been surrendered into their care. Moore added that Cuthbert has not contacted the shelter for help.
Graham Lang, another lawyer representing Cuthbert’s neighbours, spoke with the Star today regarding the future of this case.
He explained that the next step depends on Cuthbert’s compliance with the court order.
If she remains in compliance, Lang said, the matter would be adjourned on June 26.
If she is found not to have complied, the next step could be either a fine or imprisonment.
Lang is hopeful that she will not breach the order. He mentioned Cuthbert has clearly demonstrated she is capable of complying with the court order.
“From our point of view, the court case is complete unless she were to breach in the future,” he said.
Lang said he has not inquired about the kennel’s new location. He said the court order only affects her Tagish property.
He imagines that the Yukon government is interested in where the dogs are now being kept.
He expects YG officials are following up because Cuthbert has made comments in the media that she would go and camp with the dogs if necessary.
Lang believes that means she may have taken the dogs to Crown land. He and the neighbours hope that is not the case, and that she has found new private property.
They also hope this property does not pose the same detriments to any nearby neighbours.
As for Cuthbert’s lawsuit, Lang plans to bring in another lawyer with more experience in defamation law.
He expects to bring forward an application to have the suit struck as frivolous and vexatious. He estimates this will be sometime in the next couple of months.
The Star reached out to Environment Yukon to confirm if anyone from the government is monitoring Cuthbert’s activities.
No one from the department was available to provide that information.