Paul Marinsky is devasted and mourning the loss of his wife, Brittani, after a long battle with stomach cancer. Brittani lived with a service dog she received from Starfleet Service Dogs to assist with her chronic illness.
In the days and months after Brittani’s death, Paul found solace and comfort in the service dog, Tootsie. Now, everything has changed as the organization demanded the service dog be returned.
“If her heart was acting up or something, Tootsie could alert her among other things we trained her to do,” Paul shared.
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The dog was one year old when she came into Brittani’s life. Paul and his late wife spent a lot of time training the dog, and together they formed a close bond.
The couple paid Starfleet Service Dogs over $140 a month for a wellness plan for Tootsie, and they spent thousands of dollars training her over the course of two years.
Before Brittani died, she wanted to be sure Paul would be able to keep Tootsie. He promised his late wife he would do everything he could to keep the dog.
A few months after Brittani’s passing, Paul received word that Starfleet was coming to take ownership of Tootsie. Paul replied and told the organization to hold off because he was consulting with an attorney.
However, when Paul took the dog for a vet visit, Starfleet sent someone to take her. The vet released Tootsie to Starfleet since the organization’s name was on the dog’s account.
“The question is who owns Tootsie? Which, quite clearly, the answer is Mr. Marinsky,” Katie Barnett, Paul’s attorney, stated.
Paul has vowed to regain ownership of Tootsie by taking Starfleet to court. His attorneys recently filed a lawsuit in Starfleet’s state, Maryland.
When a local news crew reached out to different assistance dog organizations, nine of them said they let the family keep the service dog of a deceased client.