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Is it legal/ethical to take my neighbors cat if its being neglected?

Q:

So I recently moved into a building and there is a cat here who is being neglected by his owners. His tail appears to be "dead" as half of it does not move and has lost all of its hair. He also jhas other patches of missing hair and open wounds. He is very friendly and I would like to take him to the vet and eventually take him in as my own. Is this legal/ethical?

A:

There is sometimes a fine line between helping an animal in need and pet theft. To play it safe (a decision each person has to make for him/herself), it would be advisable to contact law enforcement authorities, including your local society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (SPCA). Many SPCAs enforce animal cruelty laws and have the authority to seize abused and neglected animals. Sometimes when animals are seized, the ‘owner’ surrenders the animal and the animal may be adopted. Other times, there are mechanisms in the law for the disposition of an abused or neglected animal either after the adjudication of the case or after a hearing to determine fitness of the ‘owner’ to care for the animal. Also, when people are very neglectful they may be willing to give an animal away or sell an animal. It sounds as if this animal needs immediate help. 


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott

 

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