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No sign of Lemmy: Dogsitter already facing criminal charges again fails to appear in court

After spending more than $45,000, making multiple appearances in front of a judge and suffering a major health issue, Greg Marentette has walked out of court without having his dog returned to him — yet again.

According to Marentette, both he and Samantha Roberts were issued subpoenas to appear in Windsor's provincial court Tuesday.

While Marentette showed up with friends and family, Roberts was nowhere to be found.

For Marentette, this is yet another setback in a years-long effort to get his Newfoundland dog, Lemmy, back. He said the effort has led him to experience a major health issue.

"A couple weeks ago, I had a heart attack from high blood pressure. The doctor told me I was in a stroke zone. He told me to relax and let the law play out the way it's going to play out," said Marentette.

In 2016, Marentette hired Roberts to be Lemmy's dog-sitter.Samantha Roberts says she depends on Lemmy as her service animal in Windsor, Ont. on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. (Michelle Maluske/CTV Windsor)

Over the next few years, Roberts developed an attachment to Lemmy, relying on the dog as a service animal.

In 2019, Roberts pursued legal action to take custody of Lemmy. That failed, along with multiple appeals.

Since then, Roberts has failed to comply with multiple court orders to return the dog, with the case escalating rom a civil dispute to a criminal matter. 

A bench warrant has been issued for her arrest. Roberts is charged with theft under $5,000 and disobeying a court order.

"She's hiding the dog somewhere and I don't think she wants anybody to know where that is," said Marentette. "Nobody can seem to find her but she's out there."

Marentette points to a failure in Ontario's enforcement of civil orders as the main factor in this dispute lasting so many years.

"Our civil system has absolutely no power to enforce the verdicts. I've got five verdicts saying that I'm in the right and that she needs to give the dog back now ...  For three and a half years, it was civil. Now, it's criminal." 

But Windsor lawyer and former police officer Dan Scott tells CTV News there is good reason why enforcing civil orders can be "cumbersome."

"The difficulty with having the police enforce a civil order ... is that the police can't have confidence that the order is the latest order or it's legitimate, especially with fraudulent documents out there," said Scott, adding this happens more often with family court orders.

"So they're concerned about putting themselves in harm's way civilly where, for example, they take the dog, find out it was a scam and get sued."

He added while many people will abide by civil orders, some people will be defiant.

"You cannot reason with the unreasonable. It doesn't matter who tells them what. It doesn't matter what authority (they have)," said Scott. "Unfortunately, the complainant in this found it was a very expensive route to pursue without any real reward at the end of it."

Roberts' defence lawyer, Bob DiPietro, told the judge Tuesday he has no idea of his client's whereabouts.

"I haven't talked to her in about six months," DiPietro told CTV News outside the courtroom.

Lemmy is a Newfoundland dog. The breed of dog typically lives between eight and 10 years.

"If that dog dies in her possession, she's in even deeper trouble because she ignored the court orders to give the dog back. There will be another court case, suing her all over again," said Marentette.

Marentette estimates he's spent more than $45,000 in legal costs in his efforts to get his dog back. 

"We're talking court costs. We're talking sheriff's costs to go make attempts to retain the dog," he said. "Everything from losing work because of court cases and you name it." Top Stories

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