A couple has taken a bitter custody fight over an expensive two-year-old puppy named Kobe to court – where the case of who got to keep the pooch hinged on a series of revealing text messages.
Siwen Chang was ultimately awarded ownership of the $4000 Pomeranian in the Melbourne Magistrates Court over her ex-boyfriend Maurice Chow, who filed a statement of claim for possession of the dog.
She took Kobe when their relationship ended in November 2019 against Mr Chow’s wishes.
Maurice Chow (pictured) filed a statement of claim for possession of Kobe the Pomeranian after splitting up with his former partner Siwen Chang
Text messages (pictured) show Ms Chang pleading with Mr Chow to buy the dog as a gift
Text messages showing Ms Chang pleading for a dog a year after they started dating in 2017, as a gift from a reluctant Mr Chow – who referred to himself as ‘Daddy’ – proved decisive.
In 2018 Ms Chang sent Mr Chow images of a puppy with the message ‘bday gift please’. He replied ‘no pets baby’.
She tried again, this time sending a photo of a rescue dog.
Mr Chow responded: ‘Daddy is busy making money. No time for a doggy like this.’
Ms Chang continued to send requests for a dog – often highlighted with lovey-dovey emojis – and Mr Chow eventually relented.
One of his responses to her read, ‘Can you stop being a pain in the bum bum and get us a god damn cutie dog’.
Eventually he paid $4000 to a breeder in New South Wales for a white Pomeranian puppy.
The receipt for the dog – which she named Kobe – was in her name, as were council, pedigree and microchip registration documents.
These documents were presented in court as proof of her ownership – despite the fact Mr Chow paid for the animal and denied it was a gift.
‘Ms Chang resigned from her full-time employment which she said was so as to be the dog’s primary carer,’ the court judgement stated.
In court, Ms Chang was cross examined about why she had not purchased a dog herself.
The magistrate awarded Ms Chang custody of the dog after finding it was a gift and she was a more credible witness
The judgement stated ‘because she could not afford it and that Mr Chow earned four times what she did’.
Magistrate Meghan Hoare sided with Ms Chang over Mr Chow, finding the dog was a gift and also finding her a more credible witness.
‘I found some of his answers to be attempts to mislead the Court, such as saying he bought a dog because he wanted a dog which is inconsistent with multiple contemporaneous test messages that demonstrated his reluctance to acquire a Dog,’ the court judgement read.