Sunday, May 5, 2013

Court Case and Lake County Pet Expo

So, let me go over the last two days.

Yesterday morning, I met up with Amber to pick up some transfer guinea pigs.  As these are pigs that have already gone through an evaluation and quarantine at Amber's rescue, they are now up for adoption here, as there is no need to repeat the process.

On the way home, I noticed I had an email from the people who had adopted the chins (the ones I found on craigslist).  He said something along the lines of sure, he'd bring them back, let him look up what he paid.  And so I emailed and said, in short, that he signed a contract that stated that he would return the chins with no refund, but that he could do whatever he wanted with the supplies.  I told him, he could sell the supplies, or I could offer him 50% of what he paid for them.  Which, really, is a good deal.  I believe one of the cages they purchased was new -- well now, I can only sell it for approx. 50% of the price.  So by paying him 50%, that's all I'll likely make on it.  Same with the hammock, it's $8.50 new, so half is $4.25, and I ask $5 for used (in good condition) hammocks.  So, I'd be making 75 cents on that.  They got a glass water bottle as well, I believe.  I sell them new for $6.  In the event I decide to sell used ones, I sell them for $3.  So, if I was paying him 50%, I'd be making absolutely nothing on the water bottle, yet I'd still need to take the time to clean/disinfect before I could sell it, so I'd be losing money, if we really want to get technical.  In addition, with both chins, they purchased starter packages -- those include 5 pounds of food, 1.5 pounds of hay, 2 pounds dust, a hanging chew toy, and a goodie bag.  Well -- they adopted these chins about a year and a half ago.  Surely, within a year and a half, these people have gone through the food, dust, chew toy, goodie bag.  Yet, they purchased two of the starter packages (one for each chin, which they adopted at separate times), and so I should pay them $50 even though they have nothing left from those starter packages to give back to me?  Ah, no.

So, what ended up happening was that he said -- "Well, I find the contract to be onesided and giving you an unfair advantage to profit."  Yes, because me adopting out a chin that was returned, and getting an adoption fee, a second time, is profiting me so hugely.  Just as example -- one of the chins they adopted was adopted as a youngster, for $125.  It is a gray male, which is now approx. 2 years old.  At his current age, and with the personality I remember, I could only adopt him out for $60 now.  Say I got him back -- he'd be here for another month (at least) for evaluation and quarantine, and then, since he has attitude, he'd be here probably a decent while longer than the average chin.  The average chin with attitude is here about 6 months old.  So, assuming I adopted him after another 6 months here, I'd have "made" a total of $185 on this chin.  After caring for it for all that time, spending time putting up ads, weeding through potential adoptive homes, and finding him a good home.  $185.  Is that a ton of money?  I, personally, think not.  Especially considering that I've had all of... maybe 10? 12? chins returned over a 10 year period.  Ooooh I'm raking in the dough by re-adoping all of 10-12 chins.  

I told him, he signed the contract, stating that he agreed to those things.  Apparently, he didn't mean it when he signed it, or didn't think it'd come to that, but shit, he signed it.  To me, that means that he should have to return the chins.  I told him, I wouldn't hesitate to take this to court, but I'd much rather him simply turn the chins in, rather than have to go down that route.  

He ended up saying something like, well if it's going to be like that, he should stop talking to me.  I had said something in a previous email about, how, at Walmart, you try to return something a year and a half later and you won't get anything back -- he replied that they don't force you to return anything.  No, but we're talking about the chins -- he wanted money back for items that were used and long gone.  So I should suck up $50 because he used the items and can't return them, but he paid for them, so shit, I should refund the money? I think not.

So, I went to the Crown Point courthouse, and filed a small claims suit against him.  You'd think, after working in that law office for 6 months, I'd have remembered that you have to have 5 copies of everything, as as the courthouse charges $1/copy I had to go hunting for the Jewel, "right down the road" (more like, several miles down the road), to get the $92 money order and copies needed to file the paperwork.  So I did that, the court date was set for June 4th, and I guess I will see him then.  Service will be done by Sheriff so he will definitely be aware of this pretty soon, if he's not already.

I have to say, I never thought I would actually have to resort to suing someone to get the chins back.  I mean, to me, this just points out how, to this family, it's all about the money.  Oh, their ad on craigslist (which is still up, by the way), states that they're looking for a good home, but if they really wanted that, they'd be returning the chins, not saying, oh, they want every cent they paid back, or they're not giving the chins back.  I think it's sad that they're so focused on the money.  And they have two young kids, I mean, what is this teaching the kids?  That pets are just worth how much you can sell them for.  Not that they're living breathing creatures that deserve a good life.  No, of course not.  It's disappointing to me.

So, I was in Crown Point filing that, and believe it or not, I managed to spend all the time between picking up the pigs and about 3 pm over in Crown Point.  But I still had to set up for the Lake County Pet Expo.  So, stupid me, had I thought it was going to take that long at the courthouse, I would have driven my blazer which already had a good variety of stuff to set up for the expo.  But, since I didn't think it would take nearly that long, I had driven my mom's car.  So, I drove home, had just enough time to throw some extra boxes (that I'd packed but not loaded yet) into the blazer, and turn around and go right back to Crown Point.

As I was driving there, I realized I wasn't going to get there actually at 4, like I'd told Meredith, so I texted her letting her know I'd be like 10-15 mins late.  So I finally get there, park, walk in the building and realize... I don't have the raffle basket which I was supposed to bring.  So, when I went up to get my paperwork and booth assignment and all that, I explained what had been going on that day with the lawsuit and everything, and, the reply was, and I quote, "People are assholes."  Ain't that the truth.  So, she said I could bring the basket in the morning.  Goooood.  

So we got our booth assignment, we were towards the back, almost polar opposite to where we were the year before.  Not like it really mattered.  So, I pulled in the blazer and we unloaded and set up the tables and stuff.  I didn't have a lot of the signs with me, as the stuff we'd had at previous expos -- we'd added quite a few products since then.  So, we set up what we had and left.

But not before I got a phone call from someone who I'd been emailing back and forth about them wanting to drop off a chin.  They wanted to come by after the expo, so I told them I would need to check on that when I got home, as I didn't have my planner with me, and so when I got home, I set up for them to come at 7:30, giving me plenty of time to get home, get settled, and all that. 

I ended up messaging Jamie and Jenny about pickup and where the booth was and all that, so we were all up pretty late.  I stayed up to make the little signs and also to make cheat sheets in case someone needed them (every once in awhile someone will have a really good question and not everyone knows everything).  Got all that, got the broom and dustpan (cause rescues forfeit the amount we get if we don't clean up), got another tray table to put the hammocks on, and had everything laid out for this morning.

Morning came waaaay too quick.  I had told Jamie I'd be there by 7:15, it was more like 7:30.  We ran out to get McDonalds and headed to the fairgrounds.  Got the rest of the stuff unloaded.  Also, decided that we weren't crazy about how the booth was set up (which I'd been debating for the entire night), so we moved the table that was all the way up front back to the back wall, and turned around the other table so the products faced inwards.  

Jenny showed up with Hannah, set up her big dog crate in the corner, and we got the last few touches set up.  Got the raffle basket dropped off and the rescue started.  Things went good, saw some friends and talked to some other rescues that I'd met over the past year, bought some treats for Kailey.  Some of my parents' tax clients / my friends were there with their pooches so I got to pet/hold them.  Overall it went good.  A lot of the expos are mainly educational.  We bring Shiloh because he garners so much attention, as you just don't see prairie dogs around here, and I think it's especially interesting to hear people from the western states say how they are a nuisance out there but they've never seen one as a pet... .as Shiloh lays there and wiggles into better positions for you to scratch him.  Haha.  He's a comedian.

I wouldn't say, from any of the expos we go to, we get a lot of adoptions.  It's more spreading the word that we're out there, that we have the pets for adoption, that we have supplies for sale.  That kinda thing.  We did get some donations -- a few people told us to keep the change, which added up to a few dollars.  We had one family stop by who remembered me (though it took me a bit to place them) -- after their rabbit died, they'd adopted rats, then decided they weren't for them, returned the rats for a refund (within the time period, unlike the guy above wanting a refund after 1.5 years).  It totally slipped my mind that when they returned the rats, they hadn't brought the food back, which it really doesn't matter.  To me, if someone's bringing back an animal, for refund or not, the point is that the animal comes back, I don't care what happens to the care packet or the food or whatever.  It doesn't make any difference to me.  Anyway, they said that they started giving their new rabbit some of the lab blocks (on top of the oxbow rabbit food they're giving her) and they said she really likes them, so she'll be back to get some more when they run out.  So she gave a $6 donation she said, since she didn't bring the food back and all that.  So hey, I'll take it.  Every little bit helps.

We met some people who had a skunk as a pet, as well as some ducks.  Talked with them for awhile, turns out you need a permit to own the skunk and the DNR comes to their house yearly to check that the skunk is cared for well.  Which it apparently is, if they keep getting approved for the permit.  Very nice people, interesting to talk to, about their pets.  There's so few people with "true" exotics.  Don't get me wrong, chins are exotics, but they could be considered common at this point.  The true exotics like the skunks, prairie dogs, patagonian cavies, fennec foxes, and those sort of things, I always love talking to those sort of people cause it's just so interesting to hear about these other animals and how they live.  I can't say I'd want to always own the animals they tell me about, but it's definitely interesting to hear about them. 

So then we had a lady who was asking if we had hay available, and I told her, we have it at the house, but we didn't bring any with us.  So she was asking about price and I told her, we can squeeze two pounds into one of those large paper sacks you get at the grocery store, and that's $2.  She said she had two guinea pigs.  She seemed to like the price and she took a card, so I told her, call and see if we're home, and I can get her some hay.  So we'll see if she calls.  It seemed promising, cause she said she wasn't far, and, short of people buying a bale of hay themselves, it's hard to beat $1/pound.  

Had one lady asking about the adoption process for chinchillas, and so I went over that with her.  She asked what the adoption fee was, and we had Boom and Pow there (who are ready to go in like 2 days) and I told her it was $175 and she asked if that was for one.  It's for both.  Which makes me feel better, cause we do get people that hear $175 for two and have an absolute cow, like omg that's too much.  And in my head, I think, at the pet store you can get ONE for $150 + tax, which ends up being $160.50 (in Indiana), so two or $175 seems reasonable to me.  But not to everyone I guess.  This lady seemed to think that was halfway decent though, so we'll see if we see her again.  

Sold a decent amount of things.  Some of our previous adoptive homes/friends stopped by and purchased things (probably saving themselves a trip to the house), and that got rid of a lot of stuff.  Seems some of the same stuff that always sells sold, like the rosehips and hawthorn berries and such.  We did sell all the loofah, and not all to one person either, so that seemed to be a hit.  Will definitely be something I order more of in the future.  

So, at about 1-2 hours to closing, I get a text from my parents asking if I can still get them in as volunteers (i.e. for free).  Well, I had originally been anticipating having me and one volunteer, and then two more nametags for them.  Well... when they'd said they weren't coming, I snagged another volunteer, and so I only had one nametag left.  The booth next to us, on the other hand, had several nametags left (openly sitting on their table, so I could see em), so I asked if I could have one, and they said I could.  So, I told my parents, and they brought my dog.  

So, they said they were almost here, so I headed outside with the two nametags, and I tried calling them, but no one picked up.  So I'm looking around trying to see where they might be, and I see this sheltie standing over on the side and I think, "man that looks like Kailey."  I look up, and it's my dad holding onto the leash.  Lol.  Totally was Kailey.  And I said her name and she started like wanting to come over by me and pulling on the lead.  She never acts happy to see me, so that was like this PERFECT moment in my head.  I'll have to remember it cause it'll never happen again, lol.

So my mom was parking, so they both came in with their nametags, and stayed for a bit.  By the time they left, we didn't have a ton more time to go until cleanup.  Some of the booths (the ones that were paying to be there -- not rescues) were packing up early, which the rescues can't do or we forfeit our money.  So, we waited until just about everyone was starting to pack up, just to be sure, and then started packing up.  I tell ya, it goes quick with three people.  

Since we were towards the back, I was able to pull the blazer right in and get it loaded up.  We went to Jamie's house to drop her off, I got to see her german shepherd Felony, and then me and Jenny headed back to my place.  I had promised her supplies in trade for the thin mint cookies that she'd brought for all of us, but in the rush of getting everything done the night before, I told her she'd have to wait for me to pack it up after the expo.  So, we got everything in the house, the big things downstairs, and left the rest close inside the door.  I need to go through the boxes and sort stuff, as our one box should be just expo stuff, like the price labels, our donations box, pens, our receipt paper, and so on, and that stuff (and everything else) ended up mixed up with everything else. 

So we got everything inside, and let the dogs out back (with us there).  So, they played a bit and then were getting tired and were laying down, so we went in and I got her her trade supplies.  So then she left with her pooch, and as I waited for my 7:30 to show up, I started going through the boxes.  I dug through and pulled out all the hammocks, and put those back where those go.  Also got most of the hidey houses downstairs.  Got all the toys put away, and put all the baggies of the herbs/treats on the side, as I know I'm running low for a lot of them, so I need to take stock of what I have and what I need to order before I get those all put away.  So that's likely for tomorrow or another day.  

 Still have plenty of stuff in the foyer, and was still trying to clean up ad make the rescue halfway decent when my people arrived.  They brought a chin, Penelope, which the pet store had told then was a female, but then, they'd seen him cleaning himself (or so they thought).  So I checked, and for sure, he is a male.  Yet another instance of pet stores not having a clue as to what gender they have.  So, they brought not only the chin, but also a lot of stuff.  And I feel, in light of the recent events with these two chins where the owners want every cent that they paid back, I find this interesting.  These people brought not only the chin, but what appears to be a two-level ferret nation (it's taken apart, hence, appears), a medium sized cage, a travel cage, a dust house, and a box of treats/chews, and some bedding.  Assuming they bought this all new (which most people do, as the average person doesn't even think to go to a rescue to get this stuff), we're talking over $350 worth of cages/supplies that they dropped off.  And that's JUST including the cages and the dust house, not including any toys, food, accessories, etc that they brought with.  On top of that, these people, bless their hearts, donated $100 to the rescue.

I just find this amusing, in that some people are so willing to have their critter find a good home that they'll bring hundreds of dollars worth of stuff to the rescue, and then donate a huge amount on top of that, yet others don't even want to bring the chins themselves without payment.  I just find it interesting.

So, I got their chin settled in as best I could, and I went to take a nap.  I tell ya, it doesn't look like we have a ton of stuff at the expos, but it's amazing how it takes forever to set up, take down, put the stuff where it goes.... it's tiring.  I made sure all the pets were fed and watered, and I gave the new chin food and water, and went for my nap.  Everything else could wait for the morning. 

And I do have pictures of most/all of this, but that will also have to wait until the morning.  Got some great shots of Kailey when the pooches were outside laying around.  Will post pictures either tomorrow or in the near future.  That's on the to-do list as well as getting those girl scout pictures out to the troop leader.  Oops.  One of these days.

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