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 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”

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.

animal
Categories
experts
 
Can we sue the dog seller for not providing registration papers?
Q:

My husband and I bought a dog for $300 and it was suppose to have papers. Now the original owner is saying they do not have the papers. We wanted half our money back and at first they agreed. Now they are saying they won't give us any of our money back. I have documentation on my phone about the cost and them having papers. They said they would buy the dog back for what we paid for him and vet bills, but its my son's dog and he is attached. Can we sue him? Would it be worth suing him?

A:

In some states, there are laws which address this issue if the animal is purchased from a pet dealer (that term is defined differently but generally refers to pet stores and some breeders). For example, New York’s law provides that the purchaser can receive a refund of 75% of the purchase price if the pet dealer who represents an animal as registered or capable of registration with a purebred registry fails to provide the purchaser with the registration papers. Even if one does not purchase an animal from a pet dealer, a court could award the purchaser what the court deems to be the difference in monetary value between a registered and un-registered dog if the court believes that the seller represented that registration papers would be provided and then failed to provide the papers.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
How can I stop people who find lost dogs from neglecting to talk to the real owner?
Q:

I lost my dog and been looking on CL. I answered to a post title found small dog. After doing this I sent pics and this person said call me. I did and they never answered or heard through email until 3 days after that day saying they had taken this dog to the shelter and to go see if it was mine that same day. This shelter closes on Mondays. I replied politely just asking why I was never called or emailed so that I could take a look at this dog before they did this. (I have more emails and details just can't put it all here). This person responded by saying "...because after three days the dog is legally mine and they will not let you take him in..." I can't sleep, I am all tears I will do everything I can to pursue legal action but my Nico was never registered as my pet due to many circumstances like job loss and illness. And if anything, they might not even know this but I know I love him, I know I miss him and I know there is other people looking and searching for their lost companion and it is my duty to stop actions like this one. Please help me by guiding me and I thank you deeply from my heart.

A:

A finder of an animal is usually acting within the law when such finder brings a found animal to an animal shelter. Problems sometimes arise when a finder states that he/she was the “owner” of the animal. This can be tragic since in some areas shelters are not required to keep animals who are surrendered by their “owners” for a minimum number of days. As a result, sometimes these animals are either euthanized or adopted out without the real “owner” having an opportunity to claim the animal. Since you know where the animal was taken, I suggest you go to the shelter immediately and see if the shelter has your dog. Each shelter has its own requirements for redemption, but some proof of “ownership” would normally be required. The proof could be in the form of photos, veterinary records, license, etc. Otherwise, anyone could go to any shelter and claim an animal. When one cannot prove “ownership” to the satisfaction of the shelter, sometimes the shelter will allow the person to adopt the animal, assuming the person meets the shelter’s adoption standards.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Is it legal for a shelter to adopt out a pregnant dog?
Q:

We adopted a dog from a local animal shelter. We were told she had given birth recently and that the babies were adopted out already. Flash forward to yesterday, we came home from work only to find a brand new puppy laying with her, but it was dead. My daughter has Generalized Anxiety Disorder and this has caused her a lot of grief. We called the animal shelter and they said "Well just wait to see if anymore come out." No remorse whatsoever. Is this legal?

A:

I suggest that you take the dog to a veterinarian to be examined. Also, consider speaking with someone else at the shelter to express your concerns. You might have a civil claim for veterinary and other expenses you incur which are related to the dog’s most recent pregnancy and delivery. The Georgia Department of Agriculture, Animal Protection Section regulates shelters. Consider contacting that agency as well. I hope your dog does well and will be spayed once a veterinarian says it is safe to do so. Under Georgia law, animals adopted from shelters must be spayed or neutered either prior to adoption (which obviously did not happen in your situation) or shortly thereafter (which may have to be delayed given your dog's condition).


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Did my uncle's ex abandon her animals?
Q:

My uncle's ex girlfriend left him a few months ago and left her two dogs and three cats at his home. He wants to give the cats up to our local rescue center, but they said that she either needs to give the okay or have her say that they are his (they avoid talking if possible).

He also wants to keep both dogs. Is it legal for him to buy tags for them under his name? Would they be considered his if she were to try to get them back?

A:

It is understandable that the rescue center would want the ex-girlfriend’s consent. The shelter would not want to adopt out the cats and then have the ex-girlfriend try to reclaim them. A dog license does not in and of itself prove “ownership” of a dog. It is just one indication of “ownership.” In an animal custody/ownership lawsuit, the dog license would be considered in conjunction with the rest of the evidence. For the sake of the animals, your uncle and his ex should try to resolve the pet custody issue.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
What can I do legally to get my cats back?
Q:

I raised two rescue kittens and recently decided to put ad in paper free to good home. Bad choice, couple came with daughter to pick up and decided they wanted them both, read article on computer about these kind of people. Don't think they are doing what they promised for cats, I broke down 5 minutes after they left and haven't stopped crying yet. I am very depressed at what I could do to get cats back, I can't live without them, I now know that. I tried to talk to them two days later about getting my cats back, they said well we may give the boy back maybe. What can I do legally to get cats back, they are not adjusting to their new home and neither am I. Please help, I can't live without them, I even sleep with their toys.

A:

When one places a “free to good home” ad and then places the animal in the possession of a person who responded to the ad, a lawsuit to get the animals returned would likely be a difficult case to win unless as part of the adoption agreement there were conditions for the return of the animal. One’s best bet may be to attempt to purchase the animals from the adopter if the adopter is otherwise unwilling to return the animals.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
What is the legal time frame to deem a dog abandoned?
Q:

There is a dog located in Fulton, NY that many, many, many neighbors are concerned for. He was "left" with a friend, who is said to come once a day, if at all. Outside 24/7, with a porch to crawl under. Every time they call Animal Control, they say they can't do anything because the dog has shelter and water. Here in upstate NY we have very cold, windy winters. What is the legal time limit of an animal to legally be determined "abandoned"?

A:

New York’s abandonment law (section 355 of the Agriculture and Markets Law) does not state a specific amount of time before an animal can be deemed abandoned. In addition to the abandonment law, there are other laws that may be utilized in the situation you presented. There is a law in New York State (section 353-B of the Agriculture and Markets law) which requires dogs left outdoors in inclement weather be provided with a structurally sound housing facility with a waterproof roof and insulation appropriate to local climatic conditions with sufficient space to allow the dog to stand up, turn around and lie down with limbs outstretched. ‘Inclement weather’ is defined in the law to mean “conditions that are likely to adversely affect the health or safety of the dog, including but not limited to rain, sleet, ice, snow, wind, or extreme heat and cold.” There is another law, section 373 of the Agriculture and Markets Law, which provides that upon a showing that an animal on premises other than a street or other public place is kept in unhealthy conditions or not properly cared for for more than 12 successive hours, a judge may issue a warrant to law enforcement officers to take possession of the animal. Section 117 of the Agriculture and Markets law states that law enforcement officers, including a dog control officer, may seize a dog which is not licensed whether on or off the “owner’s” premises.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Can my cat's previous owner sue me to get the cat back?
Q:

Hello, I have a cat that was given to me because the previous owner had other cats in her home and the one that was given to me had an eye watering and vomit issue. No money exchanged hands for this cat, no contracts, no written agreements. She keeps in contact with me re:cat (I would prefer she not) and has told me that if I don't have her teeth cleaned by 2/14/13 she is going to sue me to take the cat back. I am so sad as I love this animal and take exceptional care of her. Can this person sue me? What can I do so I don't have to have anything to do with her any longer? I feel like I am being bullied and I'm actually a little afraid of what she will do to me or my private property. Please help as I do not have a lot of money to spend on an attorney.

A:

She can sue but the issue is really whether she can be successful in the lawsuit. Usually, the person giving an animal away does not have any further claim to the animal, unless there were conditions attached to the gift. Of course, if an agreement is in writing, the existence of the conditions is easier to prove. Sometimes when people give an animal away, they feel guilty or sad and want to know that the animal is being well cared for in his/her new home. It is possible that the cat’s former “owner” is concerned about the cat’s health/teeth and just needs some reassurance that the cat is fine. Perhaps if you provide such assurance, which may include getting the cat’s teeth checked out by a veterinarian and letting her know this was done, she will be less intrusive. If this person threatens you, contact the police.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Is the dog I bought at Christmas considered a "gift" to my ex?
Q:

My boyfriend wanted a dog for Christmas. I got it for both of us and we both said we were going to take care of her together. I paid for the dog, bought all her food, paid for her shots, her toys, everything. I am the only one who feeds her, takes her out, and bathes her. He has taken her out maybe 5 times and never helps with her. We just got in a fight and broke up and he is trying to take her from me. He said that because I gave her to him as a "gift" that legally, she is his. Is this correct? He is trying to get police involved. Would he actually succeed in getting her?

A:

If the judge believes that you gave your boyfriend the dog as a gift with no strings attached, it is possible the judge would say that your boyfriend “owns” the dog. However, if you say that you bought the dog, that the dog was not a gift just for your boyfriend but for both of you to share, and that you have been the dog’s primary caretaker, it is very possible a court would find that you can keep the dog. Usually the police will not get involved in pet custody disputes. If the police get involved, consider showing proof that you purchased the dog. It would also be advisable to retain an attorney in your area.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Is my niece's dog I've been caring for over a year legally mine?
Q:

I have been watching my niece's dog for over a year while she has been in and out of rehab. I have paid to have the dog fixed, shots, food, etc. She wants the dog back, but has never even called about the dog in the entire year. I have the vet bills, etc. She sent me a demand letter and I replied (certified mail) to her and tried to buy the dog from her. The letter came back addressee unknown and she will not give me her address to resend it. Can she win in court??

A:

A court would consider the original contract (written or verbal). The court would also look at the actions of the parties subsequent to the contract to determine if there were modifications to the contract. While a court could determine that an animal was abandoned, that decision would be based on the facts and circumstances of the particular case. When an animal is left for boarding, the person who agreed to care for the animal would not “own” the animal. Such person may have a lien for the cost of the care, but that too would depend on the terms of the agreement. There are more specific laws pertaining to abandonment when an animal is left at a kennel or veterinarian.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Can I sue the adoption agency for misrepresenting the neutered status of my cat and damages?
Q:

I was told that the cat I was adopting was fixed. Then come to find out as he got older he started spraying everything and ruined a couch, bed pillows, clothes and tried to kill my other cat which is a female. So can I sue the adoption agency for the costs of getting him fixed and for the costs of all the furniture that was ruined?

A:

You can sue, but the issue is really whether you would be successful in such a lawsuit and if there is a less confrontational way to handle this situation. If the adoption fee you paid was for a neutered cat and you got an unneutered cat, consider asking the adoption agency if they will have the cat neutered at no additional cost to you. Unless the cat had undescended testicles (a condition known as cryptorchidism), an argument could be made that you should have also known sooner rather than later (before the furniture was ruined) that the cat was not neutered.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Items 141 - 150 of 441  Previous11121314151617181920Next

 

Browse our extensive expert advice by selecting categories below:

Show Expert Advice by Topic

Animal:
Topic:
Advice Type: