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A Long Journey Comes to an End for a New Orleans Man Reunited with his Dog Thanks to the Pro Bono Efforts of Schnader Lawyers

On November 26, 2010 by Schnader in Litigation

Jon Hughes, a partner in the Firm’s Pittsburgh office, and Jennifer Callery, an associate in the Firm’s Pittsburgh office, were featured in the story “After a Long Journey, Bandit Settles into his New Home in Canada,” published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on November 26, 2010.

The article detailed the last chapter in the long story of Malvin Cavalier and his dog Bandit, who were separated in the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As the hurricane approached New Orleans, Mr. Cavalier, a retired sheet metal mechanic, was forced to leave his 12-year-old poodle Bandit behind when he was evacuated to the Superdome, where pets were not welcome. He left Bandit on his covered porch with a bag of food and a bucket of water, assuming that he would be home in a day or two. He was at the Superdome for six days and subsequently was evacuated to Houston, Texas, unable to return home for several months.

In the meantime, Bandit was found by an animal rescue group and was eventually transported to a shelter outside of Pittsburgh, where he was fostered and eventually adopted by a local family. When Mr. Cavalier returned home, he learned what happened to Bandit, but the rescue group that placed him refused to provide any additional information or make any attempt to reunite owner and dog.

Mr. Hughes and Ms. Callery took the case on a pro bono basis. Their initial requests to return Bandit were rebuffed, but after a year’s worth of work, he was voluntarily returned after a suit was filed against both the adoption agency and the adoptive owner. In this most recent article, Mr. Hughes said “I figured it would be as simple as calling somebody and saying ‘Hey, he’s home, he’d like his dog back,’ and they’d return the dog.” Ms. Callery went on to say “[t]he people that had the dog essentially said to me, ‘Well, it’s not in the best interest of the dog to give him back. This was really all [Mr. Cavalier] had that reminded him of his wife.” Ultimately, Mr. Cavalier and Bandit were happily reunited, and living together until recently.

Last month, crippled by arthritis and his health fading, Mr. Cavalier called Sandra Bauer, an animal rights activist, at her home in Ottawa. It had been Ms. Bauer who drove Bandit to New Orleans in 2006 to be reunited with Mr. Cavalier after the Schnader attorneys won his pro bono case. He asked Ms. Bauer to look after Bandit, as he was no longer able to due to his health difficulties. She came and picked him up, and found an adoptive family for him in Ottawa.

Shortly after her return to Canada, Mr. Cavalier passed away. Ms. Bauer planned to attend the services for Mr. Cavalier, but Bandit stayed in Canada. “Bandit’s been adopted,” said Mr. Cavalier’s son, Marcus. “He’s in a happy home now.”