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All Q&As
by
Elinor molbegott

Great tips and advice from the Animal League Experts.

Below are Q&As on all topics 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.

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How do I get my dog back?
Q:

My ex and I split the cost and bought a dog together from a friend. The dog was under my name at our vet. When we broke up, after a long day of arguing he kept the dog. Now we are getting together and he told me his mom came into his house (he lives alone) and took the dog and her belongings. After getting in contact with his mother she told me she gave the dog to some lady, and the lady gave the dog to a guy. The guy didn't want her to stay in contact with the dog. Now my ex and I are figuring out what to do because his mother does not know where the dog is and all we have is the ladies name and number. We want to get our dog back and need to know what action to take. We believe if the cops call the lady she will tell them who has our dog. All we want is for the cops to go with us and tell the man he has to give us our dog back.

A:

The police usually will not get involved in pet custody disputes. While the police will sometimes get involved when pet theft is alleged, the man who has the dog did not steal the dog and neither did the lady who gave him the dog.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Pet Liability Insurance in NY
Q:

I am a real estate agent on long island. I get calls everyday from people who own pitbulls, rotties, dobermans, etc. looking for a rental. As you know landlord policies, renters and homeowner insurance policies will not write if you have a pitbull (among other breeds). My question is: Is there a company in NY that one can purchase a separate pet liability policy naming their landlord as an additional insured? Perhaps this would open the door to more possibilities for these people and less pitbulls being given to shelters by responsible owners due to no other choice. I have to tell people with pitbulls that I cannot help them because I know nobody wants a pitbull. Breaks my heart because I know they can be excellent dogs. I've found a company on the internet, but it's only for CA state. Would you know of any for NY that will write pet liability policies?

A:

While we cannot endorse any particular insurance company or broker, we are aware that the Animal Farm Foundation, Inc. provides information on its website (www.animalfarmfoundation.org under Resources for Dog Owners) about insurance companies that may provide coverage for pit bulls and other breeds. Also, the Lester Kalmanson Agency (www.lkalmanson.com) provides dog liability insurance. There is legislation pending before the NYS Legislature to prohibit insurers from canceling or refusing to issue or renew insurance policies based upon the keeping of specific dog breeds, but thus far the bills have not passed.
 


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
How do I get my dog back from Grandmother?
Q:

When I moved to Vegas in 2010, my grandma offered to take in 3 dogs that we at the time could not bring with us. After a year, one of the dogs have already died, but were able to bring them back in our home. Well, my grandma is now saying they are hers and she won't give them back. I bought the Pomeranian, Max, when I was just a kid with my own earned money. Dogs do not live long at her house, as I said one had already died and now the other has eye and heart problems. I need to know how to get my dog back because it kills me everyday knowing she has him and he thinks I have abandond him even though for 3 years I've been asking for him back

A:

I hope you and your grandma can work out a pet custody arrangement that is in the dogs’ best interests. A lawsuit can be commenced if one believes that his/her animal is being wrongfully withheld. However, when an animal is voluntarily left with another person for a significant time period a court could decide (depending on the facts of each case) that the animal was given away or abandoned (particularly if the person seeking to have an animal returned has not paid for the animal’s food, veterinary care, grooming, etc. while in another person’s care).


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Can someone force me to spay the dog?
Q:

I was just wondering if someone can force you to spay a dog after you purchase it from them.

A:

It depends on the terms of the sale or adoption contract. Please note that spaying and neutering help to curb the serious dog and cat overpopulation problem and also provide health benefits to animals.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Breeder won't let us adopt toy poodles
Q:

We want to adopt a pair of Toy Poodles. After 3 emails, 3 phone msgs and 5 days silence we wrote again with warning that if they keep on ignoring us we would complain to the Humane Society. Within 30 minutes came the reply that the dogs "...are available but not to you, I don't take to threats very well..." We tried twice to reach to her, suggested for the sake of the dogs we all calm down and discuss it rationally. No reply yet and it's been 4 days. We believe these doggies will be happy with us and we with them and don't want to give up. What should we do? Thanks.

A:

Responsible animal adoption organizations try to make the best fit for their animals and potential adopters and are not required to place an animal upon demand. This means that sometimes an animal is not adopted to an individual who may wish to adopt the animal. However, since animal shelters and rescue organizations have so many wonderful animals waiting for a loving home one can usually find a great match.
 


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Father gave dog away without my permssion
Q:

Hi, my dog was given away by my dad without my permission for free while I was out of town. I purchased her and had her in AKC training. The new owners were aware the next day, but don't want to give her back to me. What can I do? Thank you!

A:

When animal custody disputes cannot be resolved amicably, one can sue to try to get an animal returned. The courts will review the evidence and determine who is the rightful ‘owner.’ While courts sometimes consider the animal’s best interests, one should not count on that.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Boyfriend gave dog away after 3-week break
Q:

My boyfriend and I purchased a dog together and split all vet bills. We took a break for 3 weeks from each other within the 3 weeks he gave her away without my consent. He could not handle the mess or clean up. As I did all of that. Am I entitled to getting her back?

A:

Resolution of pet custody disputes cannot be easily predicted as the facts of each case are different. Courts may consider that when one ‘co-owner’ left the animal with the other ‘co-owner,’ the person leaving the animal intended to give up rights to the animal, but that would depend on the circumstances and the agreement. These cases get even more complicated when the animal is living in a new home. I hope the dog is doing well and that you all consider what is in the dog’s long term best interests.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Surrendered dog still microchipped to me, can I get him back?
Q:

I surrendered my dog due to a moving situation. I owned him for three years. I just got a call because he is microchipped to me still because the owner didn't change it and he had been found by some man. I told them I was willing to pay for adoption to get him back but they gave him to this random man whom found him wondering the streets. Obviously the SPCA didn't find a safe home for him like I was told and I want him back. What can I do? they keep telling me he isn't my dog because I surrendered him but they called me to get him and then told me I can't take him.

A:

A person who surrenders an animal usually has no further rights to that animal, even if the new ‘owner’ fails to change the microchip registration. In these situations, the shelter generally has no obligation to return the animal to the original ‘owner,’ although the person who lost the dog may still have rights. Consider that the animal shelter did not give the dog to a ‘random man,’ but rather to a Good Samaritan who rescued the dog.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
We want our dog back.
Q:

My parents gave away our dog to some people down the street and signed some note to give the dog to them. Now we want it back. They refuse to answer our calls or answer the door. What can we do to get the dog back they don't have any of his papers, except the invoice when we purchased the dog and some medical records. Please help.

A:

One who gives away a dog or other animal should have no expectation that the animal will be returned, unless the agreement contained a provision allowing for the return of the animal within a certain amount of time or under specified circumstances. I hope the dog does well in his/her new home.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Do I have to return this dog left in a car?
Q:

A few months ago a friend of ours rescued a dog from a car, with the help of the local police--he'd been locked inside for several days. She contacted the family and told them she would take care of him until they got back on their feet and then turned him over to us because she found it too difficult to care for him and the dog she already had. The family has been in minimal contact for the last five months, and have not been contributing at all to his care. They refuse to neuter him--we offered to pay--and say they want him back. We are concerned for his well-being. Do we have any grounds for not giving him back if they ever ask?

A:

A court could (but might not) decide that an individual, whose dog was rescued by the police after being left in a vehicle, abandoned the pet, particularly if after the incident the animal’s ‘owner’ failed for an extended period of time to provide for the animal’s care.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
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