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Do I have to return the dog to a lady that threatened its life?

Q:

I work at a pet store and last week a lady came in and asked several of us if we knew of anywhere she can take her dog because she didn't want her anymore. It was after 5pm so all the places were closed where she could drop her off. Then she said "if nobody here takes this dog, I am dumping her on the interstate". So of course being an animal lover, I took the dog. The lady even said she would come back and give me her food and all the things she had for her but she never showed again. The lady adopted this dog about a month ago from the Dallas, TX animal shelter. Today, a week later, she calls me and wants the dog back. I fell in love with this dog and she is a part of our family now. Do I HAVE to give the dog back to the lady that threatened this dog's life?

A:

Usually when one gives an animal away, the person giving the animal away does not retain rights to that animal unless there is an agreement stating otherwise. The person who was given an animal that he/she suspects was not cared for in a humane manner will generally not voluntarily return the animal. If the person who gave away the animal sues for the return of the animal, it is up to the court to review the evidence, determine what really happened, and who should get the animal. People who abandon their animal or threaten to dump their animal on a highway are not the people most likely, in my opinion, to go through the time and expense of bringing such a lawsuit, but one never knows. Other things to consider are making a complaint of animal abandonment with local law enforcement authorities or contacting the animal shelter since adoption agreements sometimes contain provisions allowing the shelter to reclaim animals from an abusive adopter and to re-adopt the animal to another person. However, in these scenarios one cannot know for sure what actions the police or shelter would take.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott

 

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