Nova Scotia realtor suspended, fined $2,500 for taking man’s dog

A Dartmouth, N.S. realtor has been suspended and fined $2,500 by the N.S. Real Estate Commission for taking a man’s dog and failing to return it.

Sarah Sullivan of Century 21 Realty took a bichon frise named Snoopy from Dartmouth man Mike Smaggus last spring, rehoming instead of returning it, says the commission.

Smaggus was reportedly under the impression that Sullivan would dog-sit Snoopy for one night and return the dog the following day.

When Smaggus attempted to get the dog back, Sullivan informed him that Snoopy had already been rehomed.

Smaggus met Sullivan when he was a tenant in a Dartmouth home that was listed for sale and Sullivan viewed the home with a potential buyer.

Sullivan asked whether Smaggus would consider selling Snoopy, but was told that he would not.

Once the home had sold, Sullivan offered to take Snoopy for one night while Smaggus found a new place to live, CBC News reported. Smaggus agreed and handed Snoopy over to Sullivan in exchange for $200, with the understanding that the dog would be returned the next day.

The commission said in its decision that attempts by Smaggus to get Snoopy back were met with threats.

“In response to efforts by the complainant to have the dog returned, Ms. Sullivan inappropriately used or (threatened) to use information she acquired only as a result of her access to the property as a real estate licensee,” said the commission.

 Mike Smaggus’ bichon frise named Snoopy.

Smaggus contacted the police to report the incident as a theft, but was told that since money changed hands, it was a civil matter.

The commission condemned Sullivan’s actions, calling them “…dishonourable, unprofessional, harmful to the best interests of the public and to the reputation of the industry at large,” adding that Sullivan had previously been disciplined for providing false or misleading information to the commission during the course of an investigation in 2014.

Smaggus says that since he hasn’t seen Snoopy since June, it would be unfair to take him back from whoever has him now, according to CBC News. “I’d like to see him, make sure he’s just doing alright,” he said.

Sullivan told the Chronicle Herald that she was “…unfortunately not able to discuss or disclose [her] side of the story.”

Sullivan’s real estate license is suspended until Feb. 15.

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