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Dog owner: Vengeful breeder neutered champion dog

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A Minnesota dog owner says a vengeful breeder who neutered his champion bichon frise without his knowledge should pay damages and return vials of the animal's frozen semen.

John Wangness said Beau Lemon was neutered in July 2013 without the approval of him and his wife Mary. Beau was the second best of his breed in the nation before his retirement in 2012 at the age of 3.

The Wangsnesses filed a lawsuit early this year alleging breeder Vickie Halstead neutered Beau in retaliation for their attempts to breed him twice without her approval, the Star Tribune reported.

Wangness wants more than $50,000 in damages and about eight vials of what's believed to be Beau's frozen semen, each worth about $3,000. The semen is being held under Halstead's name at an Inver Grove Heights veterinary clinic, the lawsuit said. Halstead allegedly has profited from two sales, but John Wangsness wants ownership of it.

Wangsness said he considered Halstead a friend and didn't suspect anything when she asked for the dog in June 2013 saying she wanted to breed him. This is when Halstead neutered the dog.

"Mary literally cried and stayed in bed for three weeks," John Wangsness told the Star Tribune. "She never bounced back."

In an affidavit, Halstead claims that a sales contract with Mary Wangsness did not place any restrictions on her decision to neuter Beau. As for the frozen semen, Halstead's attorney, Joseph Crosby said it belongs to Beau's brother, Beau Jangles, and that the confusion is due to the similar names.

Crosby said there's "no factual basis" for the lawsuit's claims and that Halstead did not act out of vengeance.

Wangsnesses' attorney, Larry Leventhal, said the couple invested about $94,000 to further Beau's show career, under Halstead's guidance. Although they treated Beau as a pet, they also expected to have the option of breeding him several times a year at a rate of $2,000 to $3,000 per breeding until he turned 10.

"I don't think, in their wildest dreams, they would have imagined this happening," Leventhal said.