ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District has reunited a dog with its owner, Jamie Patterson.

On July 25, the appellate court ruled that Patterson became the owner of the dog, "Mack," when she adopted him, despite allegations of a breach of contract brought by Rough Road Rescue, an animal rescue organization.

Rough Road Rescue had reclaimed Mack after he escaped from Patterson's yard. Rough Road Rescue then refused to return Mack to Patterson, arguing that she had breached the adoption contract. 

A battle over Mack's custody ensued, resulting in a lawsuit. Rough Road Rescue argued that the contract included conditions for providing fencing, neutering, humane care and a "non-compliance" condition, which would void the contract and return the dog to the rescue. Patterson argued that she had become the Mack's owner when she adopted him.

A trial court sided with Patterson, but Rough Road Rescue appealed. The appellate court, however, agreed with the trial court.

"We construe and hold that the adoption contract granted Ms. Patterson ownership of Mack," the appeals court said in its decision. "The contract language and precepts of contract interpretation compel this conclusion. Moreover, to hold otherwise would result in the rescue group maintaining a long leash on Mack for the duration of his life."

Mack was "very happy" with the decision, according to the appellate court.

"'Every dog must have his day,'" the appeals court said. "And today is Mack's day."  

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