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Can 501c3 Rescue sue adopter who sold adopted dog to 3rd party?

Q:

Hi! Our 501c3 rescue adopted out a dog. Adopters signed a contract that states should they not be able to keep him he is to be returned to our rescue. They sold him to a third party thus breeching our contract. Animal Control and police won't confiscate the dog despite him being microchipped to us. Can we sue adopter and third party and get our dog back?

A:

Animal rescue groups can sue to try to reclaim animals based on a breach of an adoption agreement. Whether a court will order an animal returned is another story as these cases get more complicated after an animal has been re-homed (in large part since the new adopter never signed the agreement with the rescue). Sometimes these situations can be resolved more amicably if the rescue and adopter work together (for example, the adopter provides veterinary records, etc. to demonstrate that the animal is being cared for in a humane manner which may allay the concerns of the rescue).


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott

 

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