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”

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 I lose my dog for not neutering him in the time frame specified by my breeding contract?
Q:

I signed a contract that I would neuter my puppy by 20 weeks or have to give the dog back. I had him neutered at 24 weeks. The breeder now wants him back since I was 4 weeks later than the contract. Would this hold up in court and would I lose my dog?

A:

I suggest that you have an attorney in your area thoroughly review your contract. I cannot say whether a judge would order you to return the dog. A court could limit strict enforcement of a contract provision to avoid what the court perceives to be an unconscionable result. However, since the timeliness of compliance with a spay/neuter provision is important--- a delay can result in unintended and unwanted litters--- I cannot say for sure.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Can I get my dog I sold back?
Q:

I recently sold my English bulldog 2 weeks ago because my daughter was not giving her as much attention as I thought she should have. The next day I asked the lady if I could buy her back because my daughter was deeply saddened with her gone and still is. I explained this to the lady and she kept saying give it a couple days so we went to the end of the week and my daughter was still upset so I begged the lady one last time and she ended up saying no. Is there anyway I can get her back? There was no written agreement upon selling her.

A:

When an individual sells an animal, that individual usually loses all rights to that animal. If there is no written sales contract, courts will look at other evidence to determine the arrangement between the parties. For example, was there an advertisement for the sale of the animal? Were the animal’s toys and papers given to the alleged purchaser? Sometimes purchasers will sell an animal back or return an animal. However, purchasers can quickly bond with an animal and decide that the person who sold the animal could not really have had much of a bond with that animal. Dogs can live for a couple of decades and should have a forever loving home. An adult needs to be the primary caretaker of an animal. I hope that the dog is happy however this works out.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Do I have any recourse to obtain joint custody of my dog with my ex?
Q:

My significant other and I lived together for 15 years and are now separated. Six years ago we bought a dog and we both love her dearly. When we separated we agreed to share her in one month intervals and to sign a notarized contract stating that she was jointly ours. Now she says that she won't honor any part of the agreement. The ownership papers are in her name. The bill of sale is in my name. Do I have any recourse to obtain joint custody? Thank you very much for your valuable time.

A:

You can sue to enforce the contract. Some courts will review these contracts, uphold their validity, and mandate joint custody as delineated in the agreements. However, other courts may reject the joint custody arrangement. In one such case, the court analogized a dog visitation schedule to a visitation schedule for a table or a lamp. Nevertheless, as more courts are recognizing the special bond between people and their companion animals, it is more likely that such contracts will be more readily enforced. I hope you and your ex are able to work out your situation in such a way that is best for the dog.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Am I liable if a person I rent a room to has a dog that bites someone on my property?
Q:

I rent a room in my house to a friend that has a pitbull. If his dog bites someone on my property, am I in any way held liable for his dog biting someone?

A:

Generally, landlords are not held liable for the conduct of a tenant’s pet unless the landlord had knowledge that the tenant kept a dangerous animal, the landlord had the right to have the animal removed from the premises, and the landlord failed to do so. However, courts distinguish the facts in each case to determine liability. When a landlord lives in the same building as the leased premises, it is more difficult for a landlord to argue that he/she did not know of a dog’s dangerous propensities (that’s assuming, of course, that the dog exhibited such tendencies). Since one cannot predict how every judge will decide every case and because injured persons sometimes sue not only the dog’s ‘owner’ but the landlord as well, it is important for landlords (and tenants too) to procure liability insurance. It is also important that one make sure that the insurance policy includes dog bites, covers the breed of dog that is kept on the premises, and includes defense costs (including attorneys' fees). Even if a landlord is not ultimately held responsible for the actions of a tenant’s dog, the cost to defend a lawsuit could be substantial---all the more reason to have sufficient insurance coverage.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Can I keep a dog I found?
Q:

4 days ago my wife found a dog running by the woods next to her mother's home. The dog had no collar or tag. The next day the alleged owner of the dog contacted my wife's mother saying that they know we have the dog and has called the local dog warden. My concern in returning the dog is that I am not sure if this is the actual owner and that the dog has obviously been abused. What are my options in keeping the animal?

A:

If an animal is not at a shelter, the law is not that clear regarding when an ‘owner’ might lose rights. Redemption laws exist throughout the country which basically state that dogs (sometimes cats too) at a shelter must be held for a specific amount of time before the shelter can adopt out or euthanize the animal. The purpose of these laws is to give ‘owners’ of lost animals the opportunity to reclaim their pets.

If a finder of an animal makes reasonable and timely efforts to find the ‘owner’ of the animal and cares for the animal for an extended period of time, some courts have extinguished the rights of the original ‘owner.’ However, the Katrina cases have shown that courts are not likely to extinguish ‘ownership’ rights of original ‘owners’ all that readily if the original ‘owner’ wants the animal returned and made concerted efforts to find the animal. In some states, it is larceny to keep an animal that one does not ‘own’ without contacting animal control or law enforcement authorities within a specified amount of time. Even without a specific law, it would be wise for finders to make a found animal report with local authorities. Doing so gives the animal the opportunity to be reunited with his/her family, could further the rights of the finder if the original ‘owner’ makes a claim much later, and may be helpful to avoid pet theft charges.

In pet custody cases, a few courts have considered evidence about animal abuse but it is important to remember that sometimes animals who are lost are in poor condition because they have been wandering the streets for days or longer or have health issues that have not been addressed since the animal was lost. If one is concerned that an animal has been abused, one should contact local law enforcement authorities, including societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals that have the authority to enforce animal cruelty laws.

One can require reasonable proof of ownership before returning an animal. Animal shelters require proof as well to make sure that the animal is being returned to his/her rightful ‘owner.’ This can include such things as veterinary records and photos. Also, since microchips cannot be seen without a scan, I suggest that found animals be scanned to see if the animal is microchipped. Shelters and veterinarians often have scanners. Worth noting too is that sometimes people are willing to sell or give away an animal to a finder who wants to keep the animal.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
My dog was guaranteed against defects when purchased - do I have grounds to ask for money back due to luxating patellas?
Q:

In December I purchased a puppy. I brought her to the vet three months later and the veterinary orthopedist said that she has luxating patellas and will require surgery. In the contract I signed when I purchased her, it stated the she was guaranteed against defects. Do I have grounds to ask for a portion or all of my money back? Or should I push for the store to pay for the surgery?

A:

I suggest you review the contract to see if it includes any time period for the guarantee against defects and if it includes an explanation of your remedies. New York’s pet sale law (which probably won’t help you) gives purchasers certain remedies if within 14 business days following the sale of an animal by a pet dealer, a veterinarian determines that the animal was unfit for sale. These remedies include returning the animal and getting a refund or animal of equivalent value or getting reimbursed for veterinary fees to attempt to cure the animal, up to what was paid for the animal. However, purchasers are not limited by this law (and its time restrictions) and may still succeed in a claim against a pet dealer if the purchaser can demonstrate that the animal was unfit for sale. The Uniform Commercial Code, which pertains to the sale of goods (including animals) by merchants (persons who routinely engage in the sale of such goods) may be relied upon (in addition to or instead of the pet sale laws) in some cases involving the sale/purchase of animals. Unless specifically excluded in a contract, most sales of goods by merchants include (even if not specifically stated) a warranty of merchantability (that the goods were fit for sale). If you can demonstrate that your dog’s condition was congenital, you might be successful in recouping some money. The court would have to believe that your puppy’s condition was not caused by a trauma or other incident while in your care. I suggest your veterinarian check out your puppy’s other knees as well. If they are also compromised your claim may be enhanced. How much you ask for, how much a court would award, or how much the pet dealer might settle for would be dependent on a few factors, including, for example, the terms of your contract, the cost of surgery, and the puppy's purchase price. Courts would be reluctant to award more than the purchase price unless one can show that the pet dealer knowingly sold a dog with congenital problems.

Many dogs from pet stores start their lives in puppy mills, large commercial breeding facilities where dogs are kept in unsanitary and overcrowded conditions. Inbreeding is common as are congenital problems. Adopting homeless animals from shelters and rescue groups saves lives.

I hope your puppy gets better very soon.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Can we sue my girlfriend's parents to get her cat back?
Q:

My girlfriend was recently kicked out of her parents home. She has a cat but could not bring it to my house when she moved in with me due to where I live. We are moving to a new apartment together this fall and will be going back to her parent's house to get the cat. Her parents are pretty crazy, so if they "refused" to give her back her cat, which is hers...could we "sue" or something to get the cat back?

A:

One can sue to try to get possession of an animal who is being unlawfully withheld. Sometimes courts will consider the bests interests of the animal but oftentimes courts will try to determine who ‘owns’ the animal based on factors such as who adopted or purchased the animal, who is the animal’s primary caretaker, who pays for the animal’s care (food, veterinarian bills, grooming) and under whose name the animal is licensed or microchipped. Courts will also consider if the animal has been given away or abandoned.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Is my ex-boyfriend responsible for paying me back for vet bills?
Q:

My ex's dog was mauled by a pit bull, and he refused to do anything. I took the dog to the emergency vet, who said the dog would have died without his treatment, and paid the vet bill. Is he responsible for paying me back?

A:

I hope the dog is doing better. A pet ‘owner’ could be prosecuted for failing to obtain essential veterinary care for his or her sick or injured animals. However, when one pays for veterinary care for another person’s animal, the right to get paid back is dependent on the agreement that was reached between the parties. If there was no discussion regarding payment, a court may very well be sympathetic to the non-'owner' who took the animal to the vet.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Am I legally responsible to pay for my neighbor's dog cremation after an attack?
Q:

My father had an incident where one of our two dogs broke his leash and ran towards another dog. My father ran after our dog, which he noticed was in a playful mood with the neighbor's dog, unfortunately they got aggressive and when my father tried to get him off, our dog killed the neighbor's dogs. Cops were called, it was reported and the neighbors asked that we put our dog down which we did.

Without any notice or agreement, the neighbor is insisting that we pay for the cremation or that he will take us to court. Am I legally responsible even though no agreement was made?

A:

This is a tragic story all around. When a dog harms or kills another companion animal, a few legal issues can arise. First, there is the issue of potential liability of the ‘owner’ and person in charge of the animal who harmed or killed another animal. Sometimes, the person whose animal was harmed or killed will sue the ‘owner’ of the animal who caused the harm/death and the person who was in charge of the animal at the time of the incident. In these lawsuits, the ‘owner’ of the injured or killed dog generally seeks monetary compensation. State laws differ on when an ‘owner’ can be held legally accountable for the actions of his/her dog. For example, in some states the ‘owner’ will not be held liable unless it can be shown that the ‘owner’ knew of his/her dog’s dangerous propensities prior to the attack. In other states, known as ‘strict liability’ states (including Florida) a dog ‘owner’ can be held liable for damage done by his/her dog (with exceptions, such as for provoked attacks) even though the 'owner' had no prior knowledge of his/her dog's dangerous propensities.

In addition to bringing civil lawsuits, states and municipalities have dangerous dog laws. These laws vary but generally provide that if a dog is determined (after a hearing or by stipulation) to be dangerous, the ‘owner’ of such dog can be ordered to do certain things (usually depending on the seriousness of the attack), such as muzzling the dog on public property, procuring liability insurance, keeping the dog confined in an enclosure, having the dog spayed/neutered, or having the dog euthanized. Euthanasia is often limited to those situations in which very serious injury was caused to a human being and even then, only after a hearing with appeal rights. There are provisions in the laws which state that a dog will not be declared dangerous if the attack was provoked ---such as when the dog attacks someone who is unlawfully on one’s property or who is attempting to harm the dog or his/her family member. Important to note is that some dangerous dog laws are not applicable at all to dog on dog/cat attacks.

It is really unclear why you killed your dog instead of taking reasonable precautions to ensure that your dog would not harm other animals in the future. Keep in mind also that chaining dogs can cause dogs to become frustrated, lonely, and aggressive. Given Florida’s strict liability law, a court could find you liable for your dog’s actions and may include cremation expenses in a damage award.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Do I have any recourse against my vet who prescribed Baytril?
Q:

Do I have any recourse against a vet who prescribed Baytril to my cat unbeknownst to me. He was in for a simple abscess repair and he died from the effects and she freely admits it was the Baytril. She called the manufacturer to see how to reverse the effects to no avail.

A:

I am so sorry to hear about your cat. Every state has a veterinary licensing board. You can contact the State of Nevada Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners, 775-688-1788 or go online to www.nvvetboard.us to access the consumer complaint form. The Board does not resolve financial disputes but has the authority to investigate complaints regarding the care of animals, such as complaints for malpractice and misconduct. One can also sue a veterinarian for monetary damages. In court, one would normally need to show that the veterinarian acted incompetently and/or negligently and caused injury or death. When medicines are administered, the issue sometimes is whether the medicine and dosage given were appropriate under the circumstances. Veterinary hospitals often have pet ‘parents’ sign forms which give some latitude to veterinarians when treating an animal, and that may include the administration of an antibiotic. However, if a veterinarian’s conduct in choosing a particular medicine or dosage falls below what is deemed the acceptable professional standard of care, the veterinarian may still be held liable. Although the monetary awards in veterinary malpractice cases tend not to be substantial since many courts still view animals as property, a few courts have considered emotional distress and the special bond between the animal and human guardian.


Submitted by Cat 911, NV
Answered by Elinor Molbegott
Items 191 - 200 of 563  Previous11121314151617181920Next

 

Browse our extensive expert advice by selecting categories below:

Show Expert Advice by Topic

Animal:
Topic:
Advice Type: