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Bitter fight over $4k dog hits court

Bitter fight over k dog hits court

A former couple’s bitter battle to take custody of their pricey pomeranian puppy has hit court.

Siwen Chang and Maurice Chow lawyered up and headed to Melbourne Magistrates Court earlier this year over their two-year-old dog named Kobe.

The court heard Ms Chang and Mr Chow broke up in November 2019 and the dog had been in her custody since then.

Despite that, Mr Chow argued he deserved custody of the dog and Ms Chang had taken Kobe without his consent when they broke up.

Mr Chow asked the court to return the dog to him, arguing he was the rightful owner.

However Ms Chang argued she was the rightful owner and that Mr Chow had given her the dog as a gift.

Magistrate Meghan Hoare ruled in favour of Ms Chang, dismissing Mr Chow’s claim.

The court heard Ms Chang and Mr Chow lived together at a Southbank apartment and were in an intimate relationship from around June 2017.

After being together for some time, Ms Chang began to ask Mr Chow to buy her a dog.

Mr Chow initially resisted her, ignoring her requests to buy a puppy as a gift.

Text messages given to the court showed Ms Chang repeatedly sending her boyfriend photos of puppies.

“Bday gift please,” she wrote, to which he replied, “no pets baby”.

In another message, after Ms Chang had sent a screenshot of a rescue dog to Mr Chow, he wrote, “Daddy is busy making money. No time for a doggy like this”.

The couple repeatedly spoke about getting a dog.

In another text exchange, Ms Chang sent a number of heart emojis before writing, “Buy me a dog lol”.

Mr Chow replied, “lol, (laughing emoji), yes madam”.

“I just want a dog,” Ms Chang responded, adding in a number of kissing and puppy emojis to the end of her text.

“I know,” Mr Chow replied, with a kissing emoji.

Eventually, Ms Chang started putting her foot down.

“Can you stop being a pain in the bum bum (sic) and get us a god damn cutie dog,” she wrote.

Ms Chang told the court she was unable to buy a dog herself because she could not afford it and Mr Chow was earning four times what she did.

The couple decide to buy a dog

Around January 2018, the couple started looking for a dog and researched what breed they wanted.

Both Ms Chang and Mr Chow told the court Ms Chang had done most of the research because her boyfriend was busy at work.

Eventually, the couple decided on a pomeranian.

“That’s why I need a white one. I know what I like,” Mr Chow said in one text.

“I don’t want breeds to be loud. Or dependent. Too noisy. And demanding,” he added.

By September 2018, after Ms Chang found a breeder, the couple bought the dog from NSW.

Ms Chang chose the dog’s name.

Mr Chow told the court it was untrue that the dog was purchased as gift for Ms Chang.

He had he wanted a dog himself and there was never a discussion of the dog being a gift, he said.

The couple did not dispute it was Mr Chow who had paid the breeder the $4300 needed to purchase the dog.

Despite Mr Chow paying, the receipt from the breeder stated the money had come from Ms Chang.

In October 2018, Kobe moved into the couple’s Southbank apartment.

Ms Chang took two weeks off work to help the dog settle into his new home.

In November 2018, Ms Chang resigned from he full-time job, which she told the court was so she could become Kobe’s primary carer.

In cross-examination, she denied the true reason she gave up work was because of issues with management in the workplace.

Ms Chang arranged vaccinations and vet checks and paid for items related to the dog’s care and wellbeing.

Ms Chang shared group texts with friends regarding “my puppy’ and created numerous social media posts about Kobe arriving.

In one social media post, she wrote she “had been waiting for this moment for so long”.

By the time the dog arrived, Mr Chow’s work schedule had calmed down and he was able to spend more time with the dog.

He, like Ms Chang, taught the dog tricks, attended vet checks and paid for toys and things and Kobe needed.

By November 13, 2019, Mr Chow and Ms Chang’s relationship had broken down.

On that day, Ms Chang left their Southbank home and took all of her possessions, including Kobe.

Ms Chang told the court that when she was packing her things, Mr Chow had begged her not to take Kobe.

She said she did not take with her other gifts from Mr Chow such as a mobile phone and a laptop.

On November 14 of that year, Ms Chang, without being requested by Mr Chow to do so, transferred $4300 into the account of Mr Chow.

Ms Chang denied to the court she paid Mr Chow the money because she knew Kobe was his property.

Instead, she said she paid him the original sum used to buy the dog because she did not want him to “lose face”, or think she had taken advantage of him.

She also told the court she didn’t want to owe him anything.

Mr Chow texted his ex-girlfriend on November 13, 2019 and demanded she return Kobe.

His solicitors then sent her a letter on November 20, 2019 and on December 4, 2019, asking the dog to be returned.

Ms Chang had multiple documents, including a NSW ID for Kobe, an Australasian Animal Registry Registration Certificate, and an Australian National Kennel Council Certificate, that all listed her as the owner.

Mr Chow told the court he wanted Kobe back because “he loved him and that it was unfair for Ms Chang to have the dog which he had purchased”.

He also conceded the registration documents for Kobe were in Ms Chang’s name because she had dealt with the breeder, she took care of the household administration and he was too busy with his business.

Magistrate Meghan Hoare ruled in favour of Ms Chang, saying her version of events were “more probable”.

“I find that Mr Chow purchased the dog at her request and to accede to a dearly held wish of hers in the context of a then loving relationship,” she concluded.

“I find, on the evidence, in spite of Ms Chang’s pleas to be given a dog, Mr Chow was resistant to the idea of acquiring a dog but ultimately acceded to her request saying playfully ‘yes madam’ and ‘Can you stop being a pain in the bum bum and get us a god damn cutie dog’.

“In my opinion … it is simply implausible that he purchased the dog for himself intending Ms Chang merely to have enjoyment of it.”

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New Report On Art and Technology Finds Collectors Crave Communication

New Report On Art and Technology Finds Collectors Crave Communication

New Report On Art and Technology Finds Collectors Crave Communication

Art on display at the Frieze Los Angeles 2020 art fair in Los Angeles, California. MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Over the past calendar year, as the pandemic raged and denizens of the art world retreated into their homes, online auctions and remote collecting became both the norm and a genuinely lucrative pastime. Although many in the art world are craving the energy of large fairs, the frisson of a gallery opening and the charge of haggling over an exquisite canvas in person, it has come to pass that digital art world innovations are also here to say. A new report by the ART+TECH Collector’s Edition found that 80% of its responding collectors had bought art online at least once, and that 9 out of 10 collectors prefer to see prices displayed while buying art online.

This, of course, makes a great deal of sense. In a world in which many are used to the seamless efficiency of services like Amazon Prime, the art world’s often opaque attitude towards pricing transparency can feel outdated and out of place. Similarly, collector respondents to the ART+TECH survey said that galleries should streamline their websites to make them more compatible with the age of digital browsing and shopping. If people fall in love with something, they want to make it theirs fast.

Interestingly, 78% of respondents to the survey who had purchased art online had not physically seen the work before going through with the purchase, but this seems in keeping with the way other commodities are bought and sold these days; even pets can be purchased online.

However, as successful as digital innovations in the art world have doubtlessly been 2/3 of users in all the sales formats surveyed by ART+TECH said that they would enjoy a form of personal, real-time communication during the art buying process. After all, no matter how well-designed a website is, it’s no match for a well-informed gallery employee with a winning smile and time to kill.

New Report On Art and Technology Finds Collectors Crave Personal Communication

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Frustrating supermarket problem sparks idea

Frustrating supermarket problem sparks idea

We have all been there – you’re on your way to see a loved one for a special occasion when you suddenly realise you don’t have a card for them.

That’s exactly what happened to Leah Dezsery, but when her visit to the supermarket proved futile it sparked an idea for her now business.

“We were going to a birthday party and we were rushing and we didn’t have a card so we went to Woolworths,” the Adelaide woman told

“They were so overpriced … I was looking at all the cards going, ‘Look at all the plastic on them and they’re huge and so expensive and don’t look that nice either.’”

RELATED: Mum’s ‘selfish’ 20 minute daily habit

Annoyed, Ms Dezery didn’t buy one as she didn’t see the point in spending money on any of them.

“We actually ended up going without because I disliked all of them and I thought, you know what I’ll just make do,” she said.

“I think I just got a piece of paper and wrote something nice on it.”

But the experience got her thinking — just how many of us are buying expensive cards we don’t like, but feel like we have to give, only to have them go in the bin afterwards?

Ms Dezsery, now 26, began thinking about whether there was a way to make gift cards more sustainable for the environment — and remembered learning about seeded paper while studying visual communications at university.

RELATED: Woman’s incredible toy shop act

Feeling unsatisfied creatively by her work at a marketing agency, the graphic designer decided to make her own gift cards that not only would be made from recycled materials but also contained seeds, which meant they could be planted and later bloom into native Swan River daisies.

“That’s where I came up with the idea of doing plantable gift cards because it’s not just a gift card, it’s also a gift in itself, it grows flowers,” Ms Dezsery said.

After six months of designing her cards and sourcing materials Ms Dezsery launched Nurturing Nature Cards online, also making an Instagram account to promote her work.

“(The idea) was not intentionally to have a business, it was really just to create something that I love and put it out there,” she said.

“Instantly I got two sales from the first (Instagram) post and I was like woah, that’s crazy, I didn’t think I would get any notice at all. And then from there it just kind of rolled on.”

In the beginning Ms Dezsery would get two to three orders a week but as her cards began being stocked in local shops, word about Nurturing Nature Cards spread.

At the beginning of 2020 business was booming enough that Ms Dezsery decided to take a “leap of faith” and go full time with the business — only to have the coronavirus pandemic strike just weeks later.

Concerned because her shop stockists, which accounted for roughly 50 per cent of her income, were having to close their doors, Ms Dezsery had to make a quick business decision.

“It did affect me in the first couple of months because of COVID, but then as time progressed I decided to pivot and focus on my retail clientele and give them something extra,” she said.

“I offered a free handwritten service where I would write in their cards for them so they didn’t have to purchase the card and then the card get to them, then send it to a friend. I could send it to a friend on their behalf.”

Today Ms Dezsery’s business has made a full recovery, with sales already up 127 per cent on last year.

She’s incredibly proud of the success of her business and her cards are now stocked in 150 stores across Australia and New Zealand.

However Ms Dezsery has no plans to see her cards, which she still makes by hand, stocked in a big supermarket.

“Because it’s handmade it would be hard to make it accessible to a supermarket because that’s the nature of sustainability — if it gets too big it’s almost not sustainable anymore,” she said.

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Richard Branson Dumps $650 Million Virgin Galactic Stock in a Year

Richard Branson Dumps 0 Million Virgin Galactic Stock in a Year

Richard Branson Dumps 0 Million Virgin Galactic Stock in a Year

Sir Richard Branson gives a thumbs up from a seat during the unveiling of a scale model of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip2 at a news conference 28 September, 2006 in New York. DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

Virgin Galactic’s space tourism business is struggling to take off as the pandemic and testing setbacks keep pushing back the start date of its commercial service. And its founder Sir Richard Branson’s aggressive stock selloff is hurting investors’ confidence in the company.

Last year, Branson cashed out $500 million worth of Virgin Galactic shares as the pandemic took a toll on Virgin Group’s other travel and leisure businesses. This week, the billionaire dumped another $150 million of Virgin Galactic stock, a Wednesday SEC filing revealed.

Branson, and four entities under his control (including Virgin Group), sold 5,584,000 shares of Virgin Galactic at prices between $26.85 and $28.73. Its share price tumbled 14 percent on Thursday.

Virgin Group intends to use the cash from this sale to “support its portfolio of global leisure, holiday and travel businesses that continue to be affected by the unprecedented impact of COVID-19,” the company said in a statement. Virgin Group remains the largest shareholder in Virgin Galactic, owning a quarter of the company.

Last month, another key shareholder, Virgin Galactic Chairman Chamath Palihapitiya, who helped take the company public in 2019, sold all of his personal stake in the company, worth about $213 million. Palihapitiya said he plans to redirect the money “into a large investment towards fighting climate change.”

The news adds to the already mounting uncertainty among investors over Virgin Galactic’s future. Analyst ratings are slipping. Six months ago, eight out of eight analysts covering the stock rated shares “buy,” per Barrons. This month, only four out of 10 analysts covering the stock have a “buy” rating.

In May, the company is going to test fly its SpaceShipTwo vehicle again after the first attempt failed last December. 

“Valuation is complicated by long-term uncertainty,” Bernstein analyst Douglas Harned wrote in a note Tuesday. “A catastrophic failure by any provider could have a crushing effect on demand for all. We expect risk per flight to be low. But, as activity ramps, chances of an accident would increase.”

On the operational side, Virgin Galactic has also lost several key executives in recent months. Its chief financial officer Jon Campagna left the company in March. (He was replaced by Doug Ahrens, an outside hire.) Longtime CEO George Whitesides, who switched to a new role called chief space officer last July, left the same month to pursue unspecified opportunities in public service.

Late last year, Virgin Galactic’s chief operating officer Enrico Palermo, who was in charge of the manufacturing of the SpaceShipTwo vehicle, left to return to his native Australia as the new head of the Australian Space Agency

Virgin Galactic is currently headed by Michael Colglazier, a former Disney executive, who joined in July to replace Whitesides.

Is Richard Branson Abandoning Virgin Galactic?

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Chef Jock Zonfrillo: ‘Dieting isn’t my thing’

Chef Jock Zonfrillo: ‘Dieting isn’t my thing’

It already seems like a lifetime ago — and hopefully it will be another lifetime before it happens again — but remember when rumours of an impending lockdown started rumbling in Australia, and people started going bananas over bananas at the supermarket?

I can tell you one person who wasn’t worried: MasterChef Australia host and acclaimed chef, Jock Zonfrillo.

It’s the benefit of cooking for a living — food is something that’s never in short supply at the Zonfrillo household.

“We always have so much food in our house that even if they closed supermarkets we could survive for weeks,” the Scotland-bred, Melbourne-based celebrity chef, says.

“Dieting isn’t my thing, I love food too much and also have such a fast metabolism I always seem hungry.

“The five key things that are always in my kitchen are pancetta, HP sauce, parmesan, pasta and lemons. With those up my sleeve I can make a lot of different dishes.”

Besides, he had more important things to worry about last year than where his next roll of toilet paper was coming from, with the famously sweary chef’s family growing by one, throwing his world into happy chaos in the way only a new baby can.

“We welcomed our little daughter Isla in 2020 so even with all the bad stuff that was going on, when I look back on the year I really only remember that,” he says.

As for keeping on top of his health as we head into the colder months, Zonfrillo says he plans on being consistent — by continuing to not do a whole lot.

“I’m not really known for my health approach,” the 44-year-old laughs.

“I think being a chef for my whole working life has meant that I am used to minimal sleep, more coffee than the average person, and being on my feet a lot.

“I am always getting up well before I have to so I can be one step ahead of where I need to be. On a work day, I like to be on set before I need to be, saying hi to everyone, making endless coffees.”

MasterChef Australia premieres on Monday, April 19 at 7.30pm on Network 10.



“One of the main lessons I’ve learnt from my travels into indigenous communities is to give back more than you take, and that has become a core part of my life.”


“I find hanging out with my kids gets every muscle in my body moving. I have my son on my shoulders, rolling around on the floor, playing in the park. It’s the ultimate form of exercise.”


“It’s really only recently that I have paid attention to when things don’t feel quite right, the feelings of doubt, moments that make me more anxious than normal,” he says.

“For the last couple of decades I have been leading a team, leading a kitchen, and there’s an expectation of strength, of having thick skin, or being able to have difficult conversations and move on.

“Only in the last year or so have I questioned that and realised it’s okay to not be the most confident or in control person in the room.”


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Escape into the travel archives with Louis Vuitton’s globe-trotting new book

Escape into the travel archives with Louis Vuitton’s globe-trotting new book

Lockdown has made travel nostalgia the mood of the moment; lean into the zeitgeist with “Extraordinary Voyages,” a new book by Louis Vuitton Publishing and Atelier EXB that chronicles the early days of planes, trains and other once-novel modes of adventuring.

Cruising the Norwegian fjords, 1930s.

In the 488-page hardcover (out April 20, at select Louis Vuitton stores), author Francisca Mattéoli recounts stories from virtually every corner of the planet, but most fascinating are the visuals: The showcase of travel ephemera includes hundreds of vintage photographs and posters.

The house of Louis Vuitton, which originated as a Parisian malletier (trunk maker) in 1854, also opened up their own archives, unearthing images of fashionable explorers — with distinctive monogrammed suitcases in tow.

It’s a throwback to a more glamorous era of globe-trotting, transporting us to another time and place (until we can resume our escapades in real life).

"Extraordinary Voyages," by Francisca Matt�oli, Louis Vuitton Publishing, 488 pages, $58
An Air France poster by artist Lucien Boucher, 1948.

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No ocean waves? No problem. River surfing is taking off in landlocked Canada

No ocean waves? No problem. River surfing is taking off in landlocked Canada

River surfing is something you need to see, or at least YouTube, to really wrap your head around. Niche for now, it’s an adventure sport gaining traction in landlocked parts of Canada — including Alberta’s mountain-fed rivers, and Ontario and Quebec’s urban waterways — which, until recently, were probably the last places you’d think to bring your board.

“Just imagine what surfing looks like on the ocean,” suggests Neil Egsgard, a practitioner of the sport for more than 15 years. “It’s the same equipment, the same motion. Except on the ocean, the wave is moving toward the shore — and on the river, the wave stands in one place.”

It’s a bit like an aquatic halfpipe, a stationary wall of curling water, upon which a surfer can carve up and down and across, sometimes for hours on end.

“When it goes well, it’s incredibly freeing and beautiful,” says Egsgard, president of the Alberta River Surfing Association. “When you’re doing it, the only thing that exists is that moment, the way you’re moving and how it feels.”

Egsgard stumbled across the sport shortly after moving to Calgary in 2005, when he saw someone surfing the Bow River. “That was a big surprise,” he recalls. He was instantly intrigued and went down to talk to the surfer. It took him, however, two full years to successfully catch his own river wave. “Ocean surfing is much easier,” he adds, though the learning curve depends on your athleticism, your familiarity with other board sports and the wave itself.

The safety protocols are also different from its oceanic cousin sport: There’s no leash tethering you to your board, lest it traps you on the river bottom; a helmet and life-jacket are mandatory, especially for beginners. But “if you do it properly,” Egsgard notes, “the risk is very low.”

Some waves that river surfers catch are naturally occurring, created when the water drops from a high point to a lower point in the river bed. These can be seasonal, at their best during the spring thaw, for instance, and sensitive to river levels. Others are man-made, built when structures are placed in the river to mimic the natural phenomenon, and have the potential be adjusted depending on the river’s flow, meaning they can be tailored to beginners, for example, and operational all year-round.

Egsgard co-owns a consulting company, Surf Anywhere, which works with communities looking to build their own river wave, and he’s a big believer in the positive economic impact a river wave can have on the area around it.

In downtown Munich, Germany, for instance, one of the world’s most famous spots for river surfing — the fast-flowing Eisbach canal wave — attracts intrepid athletes and curious spectators alike. “Wave tourism is worth around $50 billion dollars a year,” Egsgard points out. Why shouldn’t Canada, with its abundant rivers, have a bigger piece of that?

Whether waves are purpose-built or gifted by nature, one thing unites them: Where there’s a river wave, there’s a river surfing community. Because there’s only a single wave to surf, enthusiasts must line up to take their turn, which naturally lends itself to conversation while waiting.

You can look up river surfing associations or even instructors, but one of the best ways to get started in the sport is just to go down to a local wave and get chatting to people, who can connect you to lessons and gear. (Soft boards recommended, by the way, since hard boards get punished by the hard river floor.)

“River surfers are very friendly,” Egsgard says, noting that there isn’t the same territorialism you can find by the ocean. The single wave also creates a particular etiquette around the sport. “You wait your turn, and there’s usually an unwritten time limit on how long you would spend on the wave.”

In Calgary, where he surfs, it’s about a minute during busy periods, although other waves, like the big ones in Montreal and Ottawa, where you have to paddle much further to get to the wave, and it’s harder to catch them when you do, have more nuanced practices. “Those big waves? You’re not going to catch them unless you have a lot of experience,” Egsgard cautions.

But you’ll almost certainly have a great time learning.

Where you can river surf in Canada

Ottawa: Arguably Canada’s river surfing capital, the city has three notable waves — Champlain, Sewer and Desert — right on the Ottawa River. The last is surfable year-round, so pack your extra-warm wetsuit.

Montreal: If you’d like to learn, KSF offers lessons (private, group or even surf camp) on the rapids of the St. Lawrence River, part of the city’s vibrant river surfing community.



Calgary: If you’re in search of a “bunny wave,” the one found by the 10th Street Bridge is a great spot to start. The much more experienced, however, will find plenty to challenge in the nearby Kananaskis River’s Mountain Wave.

The Star understands the restrictions on travel during the coronavirus pandemic. But like you, we dream of travelling again, and we’re publishing this story with future trips in mind.

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