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B.C. cat ordered returned to ex-boyfriend after custody battle

Andrew Buckley and Sophia Crocker shared the care of Tobi the cat during their romantic relationship.
The woman must return the cat (not pictured here) within 10 days of the tribunal's order.

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has ordered a woman to give a shared cat to her ex-boyfriend, saying his payment of the adoption costs made him the cat’s owner.

Tribunal member Christopher Rivers said in his Nov. 10 decision that Andrew Buckley and Sophia Crocker shared the care of Tobi during their romantic relationship.

After their relationship ended, Tobi continued to stay with each party for periods of time until Crocker refused to return Tobi to Buckley, River said.

Buckley and Crocker agreed Buckley paid the original $350 to adopt Tobi in November 2021.

She said he paid because “one of us had to make the original payment.”

She told the tribunal she “made payments” to Buckley over the course of their relationship but does not say she paid her ex any share of Tobi’s purchase cost or provide any evidence that she did so. The tribunal ruled Crocker didn’t explain why each party could not have paid half of the upfront cost.

“I find (Buckley) solely paid for the cost Tobi’s adoption and owns Tobi, subject to any agreement between the parties to the contrary,” Rivers said.

Moreover, Rivers said, while both contributed to the costs and tasks of Tobi’s care over the course of their relationship, Crocker’s contributions do not change Tobi’s ownership.

After they broke up, Buckley would drop off and pick up Tobi from “visits” with Crocker.

“This pattern continued without incident until January 2023,” Rivers said.

However, on Jan. 11, Buckley texted Crocker expressing fears she would not return Tobi.

Still, he dropped Tobi off that day, expecting to pick the cat up on Jan. 24.

When the time came to get Tobi, Crocker texted the time wouldn’t work. The next day, Crocker said she had gone to stay at a friend’s for a month.

He continued to text Crocker but received no response.

On Jan. 24, he filed the tribunal claim to get Tobi back.

Rivers found Crocker’s texts promising to give Tobi back at the end of the January visit established she knew they did not have an agreement that she could keep Tobi.

“If she did, she would not have promised to return Tobi to persuade the applicant to drop him off,” Rivers said. “So, I find the parties did not have an agreement changing Tobi’s ownership.”

Rivers ordered Crocker to make Tobi available for pickup by Buckley or someone designated by him at the cat’s vet’s office within 10 days of the order.