World's Largest NO-KILL
Animal Rescue
and Adoption Organization
 
 
 

 

Members get our updates on rescue alerts, league events, special offers and more.

sign up!

animal

Facebook Instagram YouTube Twitter
    

Like us on Facebook  
Like us on Facebook  
| Share share | email | print | A A

Search Advice

Search for:
Hint: Use * for wildcard, e.g. “adopt*” will return results matching both “adoption” and “adopting”

Legal Q&As

Great tips and advice from the Animal League Experts.

Below are Q&As on legal that relate to cats or dogs. Not what you're looking for? Use the form below to change your criteria, or submit your question to one of our experts.

Pet Legal Disclaimer
Please note that responses to legal inquiries are not meant to replace seeking legal advice from an attorney in your state. The materials in this website and any responses to questions are for informational purposes only and are not intended, nor should they be construed, as legal advice. This website, the information contained herein, and any responses to questions directed to this column are not intended to create and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely or act upon any information provided on this website or in any response to your inquiry without seeking the advice of an attorney in your state regarding the facts of your specific situation.

animal
Categories
experts
 
How can I get legal papers in my name?
Q:

Hello, I am currently taking in an 11-week fullbreed german shepard from a cousin. I was wondering how to get the legal papers in my name.

A:

Purebred dog registries have procedures to transfer ‘ownership.’ The registry should be contacted for further information. Municipalities have procedures to change dog license registrations and microchip companies also have procedures to change ‘ownership’ information. Even among family members, one should consider a written agreement where it clearly states that one party is transferring ‘ownership’ of the animal to the other party and that the original ‘owner’ has no further rights to the animal (or other terms regarding the transfer).


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
A friend licensed and fixed my dog without permission. How can I get him back?
Q:

I had a woman that I've known for a while watch my dog for me. She said he would be fine with her until I moved in to another home. She got him fixed and licensed under her name without my permission. Now she won't give my dog back to me. I never got him licensed because I rescued him from a homeless man who beat him. I've got proof and witnesses that show that he is my dog. Can I sue her and get my dog back?

A:

One can bring a lawsuit for the return of an animal who is being wrongfully withheld. Where an animal’s ‘owner’ voluntarily relinquished possession of an animal, the court, in trying to determine who rightfully ‘owns’ an animal, will attempt to establish whether the animal was temporarily boarded, abandoned, or given away. The court may consider, for example, if the person who alleges he/she left the animal only for temporary boarding paid anything for the animal’s care while being boarded (such as food and veterinary expenses), the length of time the animal was boarded, and if the animal was visited by such person.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
A friend licensed and fixed my dog without permission. How can I get him back?
Q:

I had a woman that I've known for a while watch my dog for me. She said he would be fine with her until I moved in to another home. She got him fixed and licensed under her name without my permission. Now she won't give my dog back to me. I never got him licensed because I rescued him from a homeless man who beat him. I've got proof and witnesses that show that he is my dog. Can I sue her and get my dog back?

A:

One can bring a lawsuit for the return of an animal who is being wrongfully withheld. Where an animal’s ‘owner’ voluntarily relinquished possession of an animal, the court, in trying to determine who rightfully ‘owns’ an animal, will attempt to establish whether the animal was temporarily boarded, abandoned, or given away. The court may consider, for example, if the person who alleges he/she left the animal only for temporary boarding paid anything for the animal’s care while being boarded (such as food and veterinary expenses), the length of time the animal was boarded, and if the animal was visited by such person.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
How can I get my dog back after a breakup?
Q:

I adopted a dog from a lady in December, since then I have been staying at my boyfriends for the most part, except when I was working or had class. Last week we broke up and he took my dog. What can I do?

A:

One can bring a civil action for the return of an animal if an animal is being wrongfully withheld. Also, while the police will investigate pet theft allegations (pet theft is a crime), the police will usually not get involved in pet custody disputes between people who know each other and have lived together with the animal.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
How can I get my puppy back from questionable adopter?
Q:

I gave my 4 month old puppy to a craigslist owner. After he picked her up I sent follow up texts about her diet. When I still didn't recieve an answer I began searching his Facebook and online social medias. I found out he is a habitual drug user and seller. I am mortified and cannot reach him anymore. What legal action can I do to keep him away from her and bring her back to my home?

A:

Usually when one gives an animal away, one loses all rights to that animal. It is so important to screen prospective adopters prior to, not just subsequent to, placing an animal in a new home. I wish you luck in finding the person who has the dog and hope that you are able to ensure the dog gets a loving and forever home.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Can my aunt take her dog back after she gave it to my family?
Q:

My aunt gave me her dog a few months ago claiming she couldn't keep him because she didn't have time to take care of him. And now she wants him back, my family and I have gotten really attached to him and don't want to get rid of him. But she still has his papers. If I register him can she still take him away from me? What can I do so she can't take him?

A:

Animal adoption and sales agreements and a dog’s registration or license do not definitively prove ‘ownership.’ They would be considered in a pet custody/ownership dispute but since the animal may have subsequently been given away, sold, lost (and not redeemed in the time prescribed by law), or abandoned, courts would look at the larger picture in determining who ‘owns’ an animal. The evidence the court might consider could include such things as who has been caring for the animal and for how long, who has been paying for the animal’s care, and under what circumstances did the person with the animal gain possession of the animal. When a person believes that he/she has the legal right to keep an animal, such person usually would not allow another person to take the animal, unless ordered by a court or the police. The police typically do not get involved in pet custody disputes.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Trying to get my dog back from a foster home.
Q:

My dog ripped his chain out of the ground and ran away. The pound picked him up, I am not sure what day. I looked at the pound at first but he wasn't there, so I thought maybe someone stole him. The pound then gave him to a foster home and they posted pictures of him I recognized him and and asked if I could have him back. The lady remembered me because my dog is an escape artist and she knows he's mine but she said I cannot have him back because I put him on a chain and I didn't get him fixed. She is makin up a bunch of reasons to not let me have my dog. Is there anything I can do please?

A:

Although one can sue to try to get an animal returned, generally (but there have been exceptions), if a pound/shelter holds an animal for the time period required by law, the ‘owner’ of the animal loses rights to that animal. Of course, sometimes if the animal is still at the shelter after the redemption period expired, the shelter will return the animal. However, if the shelter has concerns about the prior care the animal received (for example, the animal constantly got lost or was chained), the shelter would naturally be less inclined to return an animal if it is not legally required to do so (such as after the time prescribed in the law for the ‘owner’ to retrieve a lost pet is over). Please consider that tethering for extended periods of time is inhumane. Dogs require exercise, socialization, and the ability to move without continuous restraint. When chained for long periods of time, dogs can become anxious and aggressive.
 



Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
We were told our adopted dog was spayed. Can we recover fees?
Q:

We adopted a dog from the Southeast German Shepherd Rescue in October. We paid a $250 adoption fee. Included in the contract was a statement that the dog (Sally) had been spayed.
Last Thursday she started spotting and our vet confirmed that she's in heat. The GSR has offered to have one of their vets perform the spaying operation after she's out of heat but we prefer to use our vet we've used for nearly 30 years and distance is a factor.  
Do we have grounds for remedy? In full disclosure, we would have accepted the dog w/o spaying but would have immediately scheduled the operation. As you can only imagine, our house is now a mess and we have 2+ weeks to go. And just like a teenager, we can't let her out unsupervised--if you know what I mean.

A:

Hopefully, you will be able to work out a satisfactory arrangement with the animal rescue group, particularly since this was likely just a mistake on the rescue’s part and you would have adopted the dog anyway. A court may award monetary damages incurred as a result of a misrepresentation in a contract. A court could decide (but very possibly may not) that monetary damages should be reduced if such damages could have been mitigated (such as if the services of a private veterinarian were used, rather than the rescue group’s veterinarian).
 


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
What can we do to get the County to take my neglectful neighbor's dog?
Q:

We live part time in Lake Arrowhead CA, San Bernadino County 92352. Next door dog is left out in cold 24/7. Does have a room with food-water but door is left open. Night temps in the 20s. Dog is skinny and suffering. Reported to County over 3 times. They served notice to owner who each time manages to show up in time to talk his way out of it. He leaves dog for 3-5 consecutive days. Dog barks all day, most nights. What can we do to get County to take dog away?

A:

I suggest contacting local humane societies and rescue groups to request their help. It is important in dog abuse and neglect situations to focus on the abuse and neglect, and not the dog barking. Also, attempting to purchase a neglected animal is another way to possibly save an animal from dire circumstances when law enforcement fails to act.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
How can I get my dogs back from an adopter who is breeding them too often?
Q:

8 months ago, I found out that my parents gave my 2 huskies away. I have had them since I got them as puppies from the breeder, and I paid for them. The lady who took them stopped answering my family when I tried to get in contact with them to find them. She stopped answering completely and got a new number. I finally got a name and a number and contacted her after 8 months of searching. I found out that she has been breeding them 2 times each already (4 litters of pups) in the past 8 months without a license and after agreeing with my parents that she wouldn't and failed to inform us this. I feel as though this is bad for my dogs because you cannot constantly breed dogs every heat cycle and I want to get them back. She took my dogs under false pretenses and is breeding them without my permission and after lying and saying she just wanted family dogs. How can I get them back?

A:

Generally, when one gives away or sells an animal such person relinquishes all rights to that animal, unless there was an agreement to the contrary. If you or your parents did not want the dogs to be used for breeding, the dogs should have been spayed/neutered prior to selling them or giving them away. You are right though that it is not good for the dogs to be breeding. One can sue to try to get animals returned based on breach of contract, fraud, or other cause of action.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Items 141 - 150 of 568  Previous11121314151617181920Next

 

Browse our extensive expert advice by selecting categories below:

Show Expert Advice by Topic

Animal:
Topic:
Advice Type: