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Baa-king mad! Family in bizarre custody battle... over their pet sheep!!


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Baa-king mad! Family in bizarre custody battle... over their pet sheep



By Jaya Narain

Last updated at 5:47 PM on 29th September 2009




When Bethan Parkinson bought a cuddly lamb as a pet it seemed like a perfect gift for her animal-mad daughter.


But a furious row over its ownership has led to four police officers attempting to settle the dispute.


Now the emotional tug-of-love over Lucy the lamb will reach its peak next week when the case goes to court and a judge decides the rightful owner of the mild-mannered lamb. article-1216892-06A01E73000005DC-938_468x329.jpg


Court battle: Lauren Parkinson, 9, with pet sheep Lucy. Her family is fighting an animal sanctuary for custody of the sheep


The saga began in April last year when Bethan Parkinson, 28, bought the lamb las a present for her nine-year-old daughter, Lauren.


The family of animal lovers from Buckley, North Wales, who already have four dogs, three cats, two ponies, chickens, hamsters and guinea pigs, were delighted to welcome Lucy the lamb into the fold.







But with so many animals to look after they were stretched for space and eventually had to ask for help.

So Miss Parkinson asked Joan Glendenning, who runs an animal rescue centre, if she would look after the sheep temporarily while they found a bigger place for their menagerie. Lucy was placed in her care in December 2008.


Five months later, after the family moved to a 35-acre farm in Dolgellau, Miss Parkinson, her partner and her father, Peter, 60, went round to collect the almost fully-grown sheep.


'It is ridiculous that we have to go to court to defend an action over an animal that we have a receipt for.

'This is a family pet for goodness sake'


But Miss Glendenning refused to hand her over claiming the lamb had been given to the sanctuary on a permanent basis.

A massive row ensued which led to four police officers being called to the sanctuary to mediate.


When Miss Parkinson was able to show officers a receipt proving she had bought Lucy as a lamb in Beeston, West Yorkshire, for £30 in April 2008, the sheep was handed back to her.


A police source said: 'It sounds absolutely ridiculous to send four officers to deal with such a thing but it was a pretty intense confrontation. In the end we

appeared to have resolved the matter of ownership satisfactorily.'


But the animal sanctuary has now taken legal action in the county court under the Sale of Goods Act in a bid to get Lucy back.


Miss Parkinson said: 'We needed to put Lucy somewhere and I knew this lady and she kindly agreed.


'But it was purely a friendly agreement - we didn't give her away as a free gift. We paid her pet food while she was there, we paid vets bills and even helped

clean out at her premises - mucking out the stable and looking after the other animals.


'Then suddenly when we wanted to collect Lucy she turned on me and told me I could not have her back. I was absolutely distraught.


'Luckily the police came down to sort things out and told her the sheep was legally mine and I could take her.


'But now she has launched a legal war against me. It is ridiculous that we have to go to court to defend an action over an animal that we have a receipt for.

This is our family pet for goodness sake.'


Miss Parkinson, who works as a carer, added: 'I have had to ensure my daughter, Lauren, does not find out about this as she would be devastated. She

loves Lucy and it would tear her apart if she found out she could lose her.'


Last night Miss Glendenning, who sits on Buckley Town Council, said she believed the Parkinsons had turned the sheep’s care over to her permanently in

order to avoid its destruction.


She said: 'I run a small private animal rescue and I took the sheep in on December 30 after persistent requests from Bethan Parkinson for permanent homing

and to avoid the animal being put down.'


Caring for an animal for any length of time, such as in a private kennels, is a 'service' under the Sale of Goods Act.


She is thought to be arguing that the sheep now belongs to her because she effectively paid for it by caring for it for five months.


The case will be heard at Mold County Court in North Wales on October 6.

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