10-year-old Hannah Wise is suing her mom’s ex-boyfriend claiming that he refuses to give back her teacup poodle. The girl and her mother, Adrienne Lenhoff, left the dog with Lenhoff’s ex-boyfriend Michell Rechter when they moved out of his house several months ago.
According to the Oakland Press, it was Hannah, not her mother, who made the decision to sue Rechter. The dog, named Mystery, was given to Wise as a present from her grandmother several years ago. Like most children and their pets, Wise was very close with her dog.
“He was a part of me,” she said. “He would come in my bed and snuggle up to me. (Rechter) wouldn’t give me my dog back. And he knew that I cared about that dog so much. It was really heartbreaking for me.”
Rechter’s lawyer has commented on the lawsuit and says Wise and her mother implicitly transferred ownership of the dog to him when they left it at his house after moving out.
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“The plaintiff abandoned the dog, gave it to the defendant to take care of, knowing he wanted to care for the dog, and took another dog with her when she left,” lawyer Jonathan Jones said. “Based on the length of time, my client is attached to the dog and wants to keep it.”
Last Friday, Wise spoke about the lawsuit in a speech at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. The crowd reportedly erupted with applause when Wise said “I decided if Mitch wouldn’t give our stuff back, we’d sue.”
Wise’s mother says that the lawsuit is teaching her daughter things about life that she shouldn’t have to learn at such a young age.
“This has made her not trust adults,” her mother said. “A big part of her innocence has been taken from her because of this. These are lessons that no child 10 years old should have to be learning.”