The pro bono cases Steve Dye (left) is accustomed to in the San Francisco office of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis are Guantanamo detentions and death penalty cases. When he got a call about reuniting a pet owner with a beloved dog, he thought, “This’ll just take a couple of phone calls.” How wrong he was.
Evacuating New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Katrina four years ago, Jessie Pullins had been forced to leave his beloved Lab-Akita mix, JJ, behind with food and water, expecting he’d be back in a couple of days. When he finally got home, JJ was nowhere to be found. A year later a kind volunteer happened to see the dog featured at a California shelter on Cesar "The Dog Whisperer" Millan’s TV show. Then a series of benevolent events connected Pullins with Dye for help with getting his dog back.
After failed attempts to negotiate with the San Luis Obispo shelter that had taken the dog in and adopted him to a local family, Dye filed a conversion lawsuit. A legal battle ensued –- including even a change of venue from L.A. to San Luis Obispo –- until JJ’s adoptive family finally settled with Dye on the courthouse steps before the court’s judgment. JJ and Pullins were reunited.
“It’s one of those representations that are once in a career, at least for me,” Dye said. “I don’t know that I’ve ever had a client so appreciative, so happy with the work.”
— Kate Moser