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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 prosecute for my dog being put down?
Q:

My baby was put down for no other reason than my ex (the one I entrusted with her) taking her to the vet and telling them that he wasn't going to spend any more money on her. I am the one on her paper work. They didn't call me. I talked to the vet. They assured me that they don't put animals to sleep just because. I had the vet do an autopsy. Now I want to prosecute him for killing my baby. How can I do this?

A:

The police, local sheriffs, and certain humane organizations investigate animal cruelty complaints. In some states, designated peace officers or investigators from the district attorneys office investigate these complaints as well. However, it is unlikely that a law enforcement entity would bring criminal charges against a veterinarian for euthanizing an animal at the request of a person who was entrusted with the animal. Complaints against veterinarians can also be made with the state’s veterinary licensing board. In Missouri, the Veterinary Medical Board accepts such complaints. A form is online at its website. These boards have authority to suspend and revoke licenses. One can also bring a civil action for monetary damages against a veterinarian and a person who unjustifiably authorizes a veterinarian to euthanize an animal. 


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
How can I find out what breeds my German Shepherd is mixed with?
Q:

We adopted Tiki in Florida and she is now 5. We moved to Boston and are now moving back to Florida. We are finding it hard to find an apartment as her papers say she is a German shepherd mix. She has a lot of breeds in her, how can I find out if that is her primary breed as we adopted her from the rescue?

A:

There are dog DNA tests which supposedly tell the breed composition of a mixed breed dog, although I do not know how accurate these test are. Also, sometimes a veterinarian or other animal care professional will provide his/her opinion in writing. Additionally, a rescue may review its original breed designation stated in an adoption agreement and change the predominant breed indicated. Often when a dog matures it can be easier to provide a more accurate opinion. These opinions may indicate that the dog is not predominantly a breed that a landlord finds objectionable. It is really unfortunate that this process becomes necessary with some landlords since so many of the dogs on the typical ‘breed ban list’ are gentle and loving, including German Shepherds. I hope you find a pet friendly apartment.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
How can I sue or file a petition against an animal hospital for neglect?
Q:

Took my bunny to a local animal hospital. He wasn't eating and his poop was runny. I suggested to the doc that it could be from over heating or from blockage in the digestive tract. He noted how active he was which is a good sign. He then felt my bunnies tummy and said there was no blockage. Thats it. Thats all he did. So pretty much I diagnosed my bunny. He didn't take any tests or x-rays. He said they would give him vitamin B complex to induce his appetite cause all he needed was fiber to get better, would give fluids to keep him from dehydrating (which i don't know why cause he was drinking) and that they would keep him over night. Next day i called to know when to pick him up. They said 2-3 pm. my husband then called to ask if 12 was ok. They then informed us he was dead. later the doc said they "found" him ( aren't they supposed to check up on him?) in the morning, before I called and ask about him. I want to sue or at least start a petition to shut them down. How would I start? Best advice. This is not the first animal that has died in their hands due to neglect. One dog was euthanized instead of being given his rabies shot. HOW ARE THEY STILL OPEN AND WORKING!?

A:

The California Veterinary Medical Board accepts complaints against veterinarians. Go to www.vmb.ca.gov and click “Consumers.” Veterinary boards can take actions against veterinarians, including suspending and revoking licenses. In addition to making such a complaint, a companion animal “owner” can also sue a veterinarian for monetary damages. Necropsies can sometimes help and expert testimony is sometimes needed in such cases to prove the allegations.
 


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Can someone buy back a dog I already paid for?
Q:

I bought a dog from someone I met on craigslist and now she wants to buy back the dog. Does she have the right to do so, or is this illegal?

A:

It is not illegal for an individual to offer to purchase an animal from an individual to whom he/she previously sold the animal. On the other hand, the person who purchased the animal is not usually under any legal obligation to sell/return the animal unless the sales agreement provided for the opportunity to re-purchase the animal.
 


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Can I reclaim a kitten I gave away?
Q:

Hi! I have a question. I gave away a kitten, but we miss her so much and we feel like we lost a family member. Can I reclaim her back 3 weeks after we gave her away to someone on Craigslist.
Thank you much!!!

A:

Generally, an individual does not have any legal rights to an animal he/she gave away, unless the agreement stated otherwise. Occasionally, new adopters are willing to return an animal. However, if the new adopter has already bonded with the animal or is concerned that whatever caused the person to give the animal away will happen again, the new adopter would probably be less inclined to return the animal.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Why did police take my dogs away with no warning?
Q:

My dogs were taken away from me today because the neighbor made a complaint today about my pit mix and my border collie. I had the choice to go to court over it all. They complained that my dogs were attacking their kids. They never once said anything to me about it. I just want to know what my rights are and what I can do. Why did they have to be taken away from me with no warning?


A:

You should retain an attorney immediately. If you cannot afford an attorney, I suggest you contact humane societies in your area which may be able to advise you on procedures to preserve your rights and your dogs’ lives. It is also generally advisable for individuals whose dogs have been seized to immediately inform those responsible for seizing the dogs and the facility where the dogs are being sheltered that he/she wants his/her dogs returned. Generally, dog ‘owners’ whose dogs have been seized for allegedly being dangerous are entitled to a hearing before disposition can be made of the dogs. However, there are often time limitations to exercise one’s rights so it is very important to act quickly. Also, various localities in Missouri (and elsewhere) have very ill conceived laws to ban pit bulls. Some breed ban ordinances have been challenged successfully.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Is it legal for police to take my dog after one false complaint?
Q:

I own an 11 month old female Pit Mix. This late afternoon a few Law Officals came and took My Dog. Apparently they had gotten a call saying, "my dog was getting beaten", so they instantly just take her...? I feel this is very Wrong of them to do considering it was ONE phone call from a known individual who is constantly finding ways to harass us. I would like to know what I can do about this. Thank you.

A:

I suggest that you hire a criminal defense lawyer. Law enforcement officers have the authority to seize abused and neglected animals although sometimes a warrant is required. I hope this all works out well for the dog and that she is always treated with kindness and respect. Cruelty to animals is not only morally wrong but is also against the law.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Is it legal for a dog owner to get his dog back after the dog has been gone for over a year?
Q:

Is it legal for a dog owner to get his dog back after the dog has been gone for over a year?

A:

The right of a dog’s ‘owner’ to get his/her dog back depends on the facts and circumstances of each situation. For example, if a lost dog was in a shelter and held for the legal time period before being adopted, usually the original ‘owner’ would lose rights to that animal. However, in exceptional situations (such as Hurricane Katrina) where animals were taken all over the country and their ‘owners’ were not able to track them down for a long time, courts have sometimes ordered the animals returned. If a dog was lost and found (but was not taken to a shelter) courts may look at the efforts the original ‘owner’ made to find the animal and the efforts the finder made to locate the dog’s ‘owner' (as well as how long the animal was missing and how long the finder had the animal). If an animal was not lost but given away or sold, the original ‘owner’ generally would not have a right to the return of the animal, unless there was an agreement providing for the return under certain circumstances.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Is there any way a micro-chip would not show on a scan of a dog?
Q:

I found a dog and contacted Animal Control, and a lady who had a missing dog in the same area that looked the same as the one we had, but hers had a micro chip and this one did not. We had him scanned multiple times all over. She is now changing her story and harassing to meet me, and everyone even the police are telling her we have documents saying he is not chipped and a lot of terriers look the same. And the police officer said to send a picture of the dog of any view. The one we sent was sort of blurry and of the face, and she is claiming it's hers. Now we are going to court, to get her to realize he is not hers. We are going to adopt him, we already got tags for him. Is there anyway he could be hers even though she said hers had a chip and is now changing her story?

A:

Hopefully through photos, veterinary records, DNA testing (may or may not be possible), and more microchip scans the identity of the dog can be determined. Microchips are a very important means of identification but, as with most things in life, are not completely foolproof. If a universal scanner (one that can detect chips from different companies) was not used, or if the microchip migrated, or if the person scanning did not use proper techniques, it is possible to miss a microchip.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Can my daughter take cat back after two years?
Q:

After a year of my daughter owning a cat, she asked us to take her cat for a "few weeks" due to an apartment/no pet issue. This turned into months and eventually two years.  She had numerous opportunities to take her over the following two years and did not. Now she wants her cat back after we have been taking care of her, gotten attached to her, and our children have become attached for two years. Any advice?  She is threatening to call the police.

A:

The police usually will not get involved in family disputes regarding the custody of a companion animal. One can also bring a civil action for the return of an animal. In addition to considering any contract between the parties, courts may consider the length of time the animal’s ‘owner’ left the animal with another person, who paid for the animal’s care, and what interaction, if any, the original ‘owner’ had with the animal during this time. Sometimes in deciding who should get custody of an animal, courts consider the best interests of the animal. I hope you and your daughter can resolve this situation in a manner that is best for the cat. In some ways this cat is very lucky. There are so many homeless cats just waiting for a loving home.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
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