It is difficult when you're in a power struggle and you're the one who has no power - that can be a very unhappy place to be.
And that is where a man named Michael Smaggus is. Through no fault of his own he has had his life ripped apart and no one seems to want to help him. I am going to tell his story from my view - maybe it's not the correct view - maybe I'm being lied to - but I feel like I have a pretty good bullshit meter and I feel like I'm being told the truth - so I have decided to support Mr Smaggus and his brother Robert in their efforts to become reunited with their little dog Snoopy and I'm going to lay it all out here and you can judge for yourself what you think one way or the other - I will attempt to be as objective as possible when I'm laying out the information :)
I feel comfortable in talking about it because another dog agitator came out publicly awhile ago naming the realtors - I'm not going to type out the people's names - but you can see who they are :)
Mike Smaggus rented a house for 13 years from a person who lived outside the province - that person decided to sell the house - so Mr Smaggus had to find a new place to live - in addition to this - Mr Smaggus had to put up with people constantly going through what was still his house that he was living in with constant showings before the house sold.
Mr Smaggus - like a lot of people who live by themselves - is probably not the tidiest of individuals and people coming through his house would have been witness to that - Mr Smaggus always tried to be away when showings were happening - the offending person never met Snoopy - they got all their information from the original realtor who was selling the house - the person never saw Snoopy and offered Mr Smaggus $500 for the dog saying that she knew someone who would pay that for him. Michael demured saying that Snoopy was not for sale. While the house was for sale she made several attempts to buy the dog - sight unseen.
After the house was sold, Mr Smaggus did find rental accomodations -- it wasn't dog friendly so he found a spot for Snoopy to stay until he found an apartment that allowed dogs. On the day he was moving the same lady showed up again and this time she offered Mr Smaggus $200 for Snoopy - as a deposit - but this time she coded her words very carefully - when I see how Mr Smaggus wrote about the day I can understand what she was doing - but I can understand how Mr Smaggus was fooled into giving his dog over to the lady.
Mr Smaggus thought the $200 was a "deposit" to make sure that she brought Snoopy back at the end of the day - what the lady - who turned out to be a realtor who had gone through the house as a listing agent at one point - actually said to him - that she was taking Snoopy for one or two days to see if he got along with her dogs - and then she'd bring him back to Mr Smaggus.
Mr Smaggus didn't realize that she was taking Snoopy to get him away from Mr Smaggus - Mr Smaggus thought he was getting Snoopy back. And that didn't happen - that was in May - and we are now in September - we have no idea where Snoopy is - several things have been said and happened that are really bad and mean - the SPCA has been sent to a lady's home - a lady who has done nothing but try to stick up for Mr Smaggus - who knows what's going to happen to me after I publish this blog post - the police have been sent to Mr Smaggus's home because he was accused of harassing the woman who took Snoopy - it is such a cluster fuck - and no one knows where Snoopy is.
I do not claim to have all the answers - actually I don't know any of the answers - what I do know is - that Mr Smaggus should get his dog back - it was taken away from with trickery and subterfuge and that's not right.
And since then he has been lied to and treated very badly - I'm going to paste Mr Smaggus's own words - an email he sent to CBC news to try and get a story published about what's happened to him where he describes that after the realtor took his dog - she claimed that Snoopy ran away as a reason she could not give him back to Mr Smaggus. And then she claimed that she had given him to a dog rescue and he had disappeared into that system. Well I have always been of the philosopy that things don't disappear into thin air - if you have a husband or children and you are a woman you know this to be a fact - when they are asking you "where is such and such" - you know for a fact that thing has not disappeared into thin air.
Snoopy exists out there somewhere - and he needs to get back into Mr Smaggus's arms.
The police, the SPCA, the body that regulates the Realtors, the company that both the realtors involved with this situation - all say this is a private matter between this one realtor - and Mr. Smaggus - and are unwilling to intervene and get Snoopy back to Mr Smaggus.
It was this realtor who on her working hours as part of her profession toured Mr Smaggus's house and observed Snoopy and her owner and decided that she knew better than Mr Smaggus how to take care of Snoopy - she arbitrarily decided that she needed to get Snoopy away from Mr Smaggus.
Which brings me to the next section of the blog post.
Realtors. We let them into the most personal and private part of our lives - our homes. They see everything. And if it's our homes that we're selling - we let them touch everything because our homes need to be staged - so it was that this particular realtor had occasion to tour Mr Smaggus's home and meet him and see his little dog Snoopy - who is a bichon frise. Perhaps Snoopy was a little overdue for the groomer or his nails were a bit long - that happens to every owner.
If this realtor thought it was a problem - she should have contacted the Nova Scotia SPCA - that is the reason they exist. Just for situations such as this. But this person decided to take this on herself - which makes me wonder - I don't know if it might make you wonder too - how many times is this person doing this? How many houses is she going into and seeing a thing she thinks is unsatisfactory - is she taking it upon herself to fix it? Does she has a messiah syndrome?
How many animals is she snatching from people's arms and they are just not speaking up? They are offered a couple hundred bucks so they should just shut up and be happy about it?
I was talking to a friend of mine about this and she said she wasn't worried about it because they followed proper animal rescue protocols and I just about exploded my whole intestines onto my computer screen!
NO RESCUE PROTOCOLS WERE FOLLOWED! And in fact the realtor put Mr Smaggus in legal jeopardy - if proper rescue protocols had been followed the realtor would have had Mr Smaggus sign a surrender form - legally signing the ownership from Ms Smaggus over to her - but that was not done - legally - LEGALLY - Snoopy is still owned by Mr Smaggus - nothing has been done about ownership of Snoopy - and that's a fact.
And in Nova Scotia - when money is exchanged in the sale of a companion animal - a veterinary certificate for cats and dogs is required as per the Animal Protection Act and to not have one carries a quite severe consequence - it is the thing that ultimately did in Gail Benoit - she received a five prohibition on owning or selling animals for not supplying one when she sold a kitten in 2017. So the fact that Mr Smaggus received $200 for Snoopy and no surrender form was signed and no health certificate was given - both those things signal to me that something was not right on the day that Mr Smaggus was moving out of the house that he had lived in for 13 years previous.
So realtors - what's up with them? Do they develop some kind of God complex? It's really sad because one of the realtors involved I considered a friend of mine - so when I finally found out the names of the 2 realtors involved - I emailed her and asked her what was going on - what was the real story - and could she please arrange to have Snoopy sent back to his owner - and she didn't respond - she didn't even open the message so I could tell she'd read it.
If the conditions were so bad at Mr Smaggus's house that the dog really did need to be extracted from there - I want to know that - if there's photos of house in that condition - I want to know that - right now I only know one side - the other side absolutely will not say anyting - other than sending the police to one house and the SPCA to another - so they are absolutely being the most aggressive that they can - oh and one other person also very subtly suggested legal action - so there's that too.
(I"m just having a thought bubble for you to ponder while I gather my thoughts about something else - the person originally offered Mr Smaggus $500 - why would he ultimately accept $200 - that just doesn't make sense - if he was actually selling Snoopy - which he wasn't - why would he go down $300 - he should have just accepted the original offer of $500 - that right there shows he had no intention of selling Snoopy - okay - continue on with blog post now).
Back to the realtor theme and our misplaced trust in them - there are news stories about realtors - like the Vancouver realtor who stole every pear in the backyard of a person trying to sell their home
Or the Las Vegas realtors who would steal hundreds of thousands of jewelry at open houses of people trying to sell their houses
Jewelry is a theme - a man in Oakville, Ont also attended open houses to steal jewelry - which is what Snoopy's snatcher was at - a walk through to see the listing - which was Mr Smaggus's house.
So at the very least - Mr Smaggus's story is a tale of buyer beware - I'm not sure we should be letting realtors into our lives so intimately - we just naively let them in and let them do whatever they want and whatever they think is best because we want to get our house sold and they are the professionals - it's a matter of hundreds of thousands of dollars sometimes - the biggest investment of our lives is at stake - and I think a lot of times that can be taken advantage of - and I think Mr Smaggus was taken advantage of in this case. Definitely.
It is too bad. I think at this point, with everything I've read - Mr Smaggus is not going to get his dog back - no matter all the advocacy we do - whether I'm able to get an interview on every news channel or not. These realtors have kicked in their heels so tightly. I say that because it was just yesterday that I received the email that Mr Smaggus wrote to CBC yesterday - where I read that Mr Smaggus even sent his pastor to the boss of the realtor in question - and that didn't create any movement in the situation - and if God's very own messenger can't open up the log jam - I don't think anything can.
But I think this blog post still needs to be written - the public needs to know that stuff like this is going on - realtors think they know better than the public they are serving - when you decide to sell your home - be aware of the realtor you choose and how they are going to judge the contents of your home - are they going to decide for themselves that your house is up to snuff and sell it fairly? Or are they going to say that it's a piece of garbage and not do you a good swing and just blow you off - and also attempt to steal your companion animals because you aren't taking proper care of them.
This is a dilemma - and I think Mr Smaggus has shown some light on this.
I want to paste an email here that Mr Smaggus sent to the CBC - he outlined his story from start to finish. I think it illuminates a few things. Number one it shows he has no guile. It shows he's a man trying to tell his truth. He is trying to get the truth out there any way he can - and no one will listen to him - no one will help him - can you imagine how that must feel? And still - day after day - no one will help him get his dog back - the dog that started out as his mothers dog - and when she died - he took him - and this dog is the last piece he has of his mother - he is a single man of 58 - and he has this 9 year old little bichon frise - this dog gave him a lot of comfort - and he's been ripped from his arms.
I want to help him because I can imagine how that feels - I hope after reading this blog post - you can feel a little bit how that might feel - and imagine how after you've given your dog for what you think is just the day of your move you're told - "oh my family's fallen in love with the dog and we want to keep him" to "he ran away and we don't know where is" to "we gave him away to an animal rescue and we really don't know where he is" - and that's the last thing you've heard - other than having the police come to your house accusing you of harassing the woman who took your dog. Imagine if this was your life.
So here is the email Mr Smaggus sent to the CBC telling his story:
Just wanted to thank you for bringing the real estate story and pears to light. I think this profession has to be brought to task and accountability.
I live in Nova Scotia and have a story that will even top the one you brought to light. I currently have a formal complaint filed against an agent for stealing my dog and rehoming it without my consent or permission.It is so far fetched and bizarre and everyone who hears it are dumbfounded.I was renting a house for the last 14 yrs and the owner decided to list it for sale earlier this year.The listing agent arranged to have an open house for three days March-06 to March-08. He gave me the hours to show the house so I could vacate the premises and I also had a 10 year old bischon and took him with me during the showings.During the open houses the agent got 23 offers and listed the house sold. About a week after the sold sign went up I got a knock on my door from a woman I did not know. She asked me if the house sold and I told her it did. She then stated that a friend of hers had put in a bid and asked if I knew who the the buyer was. I told her I was only a renter and didn’t know that informationShe then asked me if I owned a little white dog and then asked me if I wanted to sell him as she knew someone who would pay me 500 dollars for him. I told her I was trying to find a place that would allow dogs but wasn’t having much luck due to the pandemic. She said she would leave the persons name and # in my mailbox incase I changed my mind. I went back in the house and she left the info. About two weeks later she came back again I was heading out but I saw her on my doorstep and a friend I was With said someone’s at your door as I was driving by and said I should go talk to her.I slowed down and said that’s the woman who wants to buy my dog. I just kept on driving and don’t bother talking with her. I came home about an hour later and there was a note on my van saying- Hi Mike hope your move is going well was wondering what you are doing with Snoop (my dog) We would love to have him and left her name and number. Anyways the closing date on the house was end of May.I was moving stuff out and this woman stopped by for the third time. I was in the driveway and she wanted to know if I had gotten her note and what I was doing with my dog. I told her I hadn’t found a place that allowed dogs but a friend of mines sister was going to take him til I found a place that allowed dogs.My friends sister has a dog and she wanted me to take my dog to the vet to get him checked out before she took him. I mentioned this to the woman and told her I had a vet appointment the next week as this was the first available date that the vets were allowed to see pets as everything was shut down to the pandemic. I told her I had her number and would call her incase my friends sister and her dog didn’t get along then she left. My main concern all this time was my dog.The vacancy rate in HRM is only 1% so finding a suitable place is hard at best of times let alone during the pandemic. The list agent came by a few hours later and then told me he had gotten a call from a woman wanting to buy my dog for 200 dollars. I asked him if it was a woman named Sarah and he told me it was.I then asked him if he knew her and then he told me she was a fellow real estate agent and knew her socially and vouched for her. I told the listing agent my dog wasn’t for sale and that this Sarah woman had been by a few hours previous. I went back to moving and about an hour later Sarah showed back up at my residence and had 200 dollars in her hand.She said she didn’t want to insult me but would like to give me the 200 dollars to help me with the vet bills. I thanked her and declined the offer and that it shouldn’t be that expensive but appreciated it. She then said why don’t you let me take your dog for a day or two and I’ll see if it gets along with her dogs( she told me she had two dogs) and her kids. I will give you the two hundred dollars as a deposit til I bring your dog back and you can continue on with moving.I thought that being a real estate agent and being professional with standards and also where the listing agent vouched for her there wouldn’t be an issue. I went in the house put my dog on a leash and gave her my dog and took the 200 deposit. This was the first and only time she had seen my dog as I had him with me during the open houses. I texted her the next day to see how she was making out Mar 31 and she said she loved having him. Monday we didn’t have any contact.Tuesday morning I sent her a text saying I was going to pick up my dog that evening. I didn’t get a response so I called her about 630 that evening she answered and told me she was busy and would call me back.After not hearing back I texted her around 10 pm and told her I’d get the dog back Weds. Weds morning she texted me saying that it was nice of me to give her my dog and so unselfish of me and her kids loved him and that she wanted remain friends with me and would send pics of my dog etc.I called her and texted her rest of the day saying I wanted my dog back it wasn’t for sale and she was avoiding all contact. I finally called the police on Thursday June 04 and told them my dog was stolen. They went to see the real estate agent involved to hear her side of the story.She told them she had my dog and on Tuesday evening she told the police the dog was whining and she let him out to pee and he ran away. She told the cops she was afraid to tell me. They called me and told me they could search her residence but I told them that the dog was probably hid.Anyway I was pissed. I texted her and said so you claim my dog ran away what do you plan to do to replace my dog she texted back I feel so bad I didn’t want to have this conversation with you I was hoping he’d come back and told me to keep the 200 deposit. I told her I wasn’t settling for that. So I decided to take this to social media.I posted her ad from Century 21 her broker and it’s says she sells home and I added she steals dogs....it went viral. I got a call from her on Friday morning with her threatening me with legal action for slander and also people on my Facebook page who shared my post.Then she said I feel bad I lied to you. I didn’t know it but she told me she was an agent who had taken clients through the home during the open houses.I was a hoarder and she apparently didn’t like the living conditions and told me she manipulated me and tricked me to get possession of my dog and illegally re-homed him. I went back to the police but they refuse to do anything as they say there was money exchanged so are seeming this a civil matter. It’s now almost end of Aug so it’s been almost three months ago and I’ve yet to see my dog or know his whereabouts.She says she can’t get my dog back as she doesn’t know his location as she gave him to a dog rescue.My brother sent a letter of formal complaint to her broker Marg Bowlen owner of Trident Century 21 and she didn’t even bother to respond.She’s claiming her agent acted as a concerned citizen but it is through her access to the home I was renting she gained her information.Even my pastor got involved and went to see Marg and she said she would try to get the dog back.My minister, his wife myself and the agent involved all had a private meeting and she offered to get me another dog whatever breed I wanted to replace my pet and also said she would arrange for me to have a visit with my dog July 17.None of this took place as both the broker and agent involved lawyered up and said they were told my their lawyers that they should cease all contact with me and my brother as we have filed a formal complaint with the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission about the conduct of the agent.I am going to have to take the agent to small claims court to get any inkling of justice in this whole matter.The police didn’t even bother to look at the texts that were exchanged stating my dog was never sold.Her broker has done absolutely nothing on this matter as well.I think she should have been fired by her broker and am hoping to have her real estate license revoked. To be honest I don’t think much will be done sadly.Funny how in BC someone takes some pears and its frowned upon but here in N.S. not much is done. I think more follow up on the conduct of real estate agents should be written about and I’m sure it would blow the lid off the industry.I know people I tell my story to it has opened their eyes and most wont trust real estate agents into their homes or around their pets.Apparently here in N.S. there are agents who are actively involved with animal rescue agencies and use their profession to actively get animals they think are in distress.Only ones able to do this are spca but they take it upon themselves to use their profession for these goals.I sent a complaint to Century 21 head office in Vancouver as well about this situation and they thanked me for not going public on this story.I was told the real estate board can’t force the agent to return my dog.I think it’s time I brought my story to light as I think people should be warned of the dangers of using realtors and be careful who they use.Thanks again for shining some light on this profession we all think we could and should trust. Keep writing stories that inform. Feel free to have someone from CBC in NS to contact me if you think it’s newsworthy. Thanks again Mike Smaggus