Tammy's adopter disputes terms in letter from volunteer

The British woman who adopted a seven-month-old mongrel which she later had put down is disputing terms in the letter of demand issued by lawyers of the woman she got the puppy from.

In a seven-page response to the letter of demand, Ms Alison McElwee and her legal team from Stamford Law said on Monday that a donation to charities such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals could be discussed.

It would, however, be "a donation in support of a good cause and not to satisfy any claim for damages".

Ms McElwee also said she would not give in to animal volunteer Ada Ong's demands for a written acknowledgement stating that euthanising Tammy was a breach of her obligations under the adoption form.

Doing so, said the letter, would "perpetuate the untruths" told at the "expense of Ms McElwee's reputation and the well-being of her family".

The puppy, Tammy, was euthanised on Oct 7, four months after it was adopted, as it had allegedly bitten Ms McElwee's children.

Ms Ong's Allen and Gledhill lawyers sent a letter of demand to Ms McElwee last Thursday for a $1,200 donation - $1,000 in damages and $200 for legal costs - to a charity of Ms Ong's choice and a written acknowledgement from Ms McElwee for breach of contract. In her statement, Ms McElwee said she did not consider the adoption form a contract or that there was any "enforceable obligation".

Under the adoption form signed between both parties, Ms McElwee would notify Ms Ong if Tammy could not be cared for.

Ms McElwee also alleged that the text messages cited as evidence of the breach were "deliberately designed to (mislead) and give the false impression" that Tammy was euthanised despite Ms Ong's willingness to take the dog back.

She claimed Ms Ong had refused to take Tammy back as it was "too old to be re-homed" and had a "history of aggression" that could affect its chances for future adoption.

Ms McElwee also said the text messages falsely showed that Ms Ong had asked the McElwees to make "good faith" contributions to Tammy's future upkeep costs. Ms Ong had wanted to board Tammy completely at the McElwees' expense.

"Your client saw a grown (Tammy), with aggression issues, as our client's problem," the statement read.

"The only thing your client offered to do was to 'broker' the boarding."

When contacted, Ms Ong and her lawyers declined comment.

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