An arrest warrant has been issued for a woman accused of stealing a dog and ignoring an order to return it after she failed to attend court in Windsor on Tuesday.
It's the latest development in a years-long saga over the ownership of Lemmy the Newfoundland dog.
The woman, a dog walker who told CTV said she relies on Lemmy as a support animal, is charged with theft under $5,000 and disobeying a court order.
Tuesday was supposed to be the first day of the trial, but the woman did not show up and her lawyer, Robert Dipietro, was unable to explain why.
Ontario Justice Scott Pratt issued an arrest warrant for the woman, and adjourned the court after just a few minutes.
This shocked the dog's owner, Greg Marentette, and five of his supporters who were in the courtroom. One of the supporters who attended carried a sign that said "Please bring me home!!!" with a picture of Lemmy and stood by Marentette while he spoke to CBC News.
Dipietro was unavailable for an interview on Tuesday outside court, but said that he hasn't heard from his client in the past six months and that he doesn't know where she is.
Greg Marentette spoke outside the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor on Sept. 19, 2023. (TJ Dhir/CBC)
Marentette says he's been fighting for nearly four years to get the dog back. He has successfully pursued the case civilly, according to media reports, but has not yet been reunited with the dog.
Lemmy is going to be eight years old in February, Marentette said, and he worries about how much time the dog has left.
"We have a lot more tools at our disposal now to find her and to get her arrested and to get justice and to get Lemmy back," he said outside of court on Tuesday.
He pleaded with the public to report the woman's location.
Lemmy the Newfoundland dog is shown in a photo provided by Greg Marentette. (Submitted by Greg Marentette)
Marentette says he's out tens of thousands of dollars in his fight for the dog, who he credits with getting him out of the house and helping his rehabilitation as he recovered from a bad accident.
"This dog means more to me than it ever did to her, so to me it's just selfishness and obsession, obviously," he said.