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AN animal sanctuary boss is facing jail in a row over a dog.

The Ready family from Netherton adopted Candy the mongrel bitch from the Freshfields sanctuary in Ince Blundell.

But sanctuary boss Lesley Tarleton seized the dog back, believing it was sleeping outdoors.

Ms Tarleton claimed leaving it outside breached conditions of ownership.

The Readys won a legal battle to keep Candy, and the sanctuary was ordered to hand her back.

Now Ms Tarleton has been given until tomorrow to return Candy - or face a possible jail sentence of up to two years for contempt of court.

But today she claimed she did not have the dog . . . because it had escaped from a van and had gone "on the run."

She said: "I accept I might have to go to jail."

The legal battle started in November when a county court judge ordered that Candy be handed over to the Readys at Copy Lane police station in Netherton.

The handover failed to take place, and the Ready family returned to court last week.

There, deputy district judge Grant issued a further order that Candy must be returned by Sunday.

The order warns Ms Tarleton:

"You must obey the directions contained in this order. If you do not, you will be guilty of contempt of court and you may be sent to prison."

Ms Tarleton now says that she is unable to return Candy, as she has gone missing in Hastings on the south coast.

She says: "Candy was being cared for by a former member of staff of ours who now lives in Hastings. We sent a van to pick her up, but she escaped from the back of the van. We have notices up and are trying very hard to find her.

"But I have to accept that it is possible that I might face time in jail over this matter. It is not something that anyone would choose, especially at the moment when I am very much needed here, but I have to accept that it might happen. I am taking legal advice at the moment."

Jean Ready, from Netherton, is determined to pursue the matter.

She said: "They objected to the fact that Candy had a kennel in the yard - but in reality she never used it. She was pampered. She was our dog and a part of the family. We want her back, it is as simple as that."


THE READYS: Went to court to get Candy back LESLEY TARLETON: Dog "gone missing"
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 8, 2001
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