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Do I have to give my dog back?

Q:

I was just wondering: I just adopted a puppy and it's not working out with some personal issues I'm dealing with right now. I live in PA and I adopted the dog from the adoption agency in SC. I actually got the dog!...despite the most absurd questions and the investigation of my home. But in the contract it says that I have to give the dog back if I can't care for it anymore. I've already told them (only after a few days due to sudden personal issues that erupted) that I need to give the dog back and they are working on a transport to get her back to SC...and they asked me to do 1/3 of the trip!. But they are taking a while in working it all out and I can NOT care for this dog any more. I spoke to a good friend of mine who is involved in vet care and she said to just tell them that the situation/personal problem I had was resolved and I want to keep the dog but then give it to someone else after, because I have a few friends and family members with good homes that are looking for a new dog. And since the rescue group is all the way in SC, I figure that they will never, ever find out if I give the dog to someone else. But I read an article online about how someone got caught with a legal situation that cost $500! I don't need that on top of it all! Please email me and tell me what you think of my situation and what I should do.

A:

Many animal shelters and rescue groups include language in their adoption agreements requiring the return of adopted animals if the adopter chooses not to keep the animal. In this way, shelters and rescue groups can ensure that prospective adopters meet adoption standards. However, sometimes if a shelter/rescue group is informed of an interested adopter by an adopter who no longer wants to keep an animal, the shelter or rescue group will try to cooperate if screening of the prospective adopter is possible.  Some adoption agreements include provisions pertaining to potential liability for breaches of the agreement but I cannot say whether or not the particular organization from whom you adopted the dog would sue based on breach of contract or how a court would decide the case. I suggest that you arrange for proper care of the dog pending the outcome of this situation (after all, you did adopt the dog and the dog is your responsibility for now).  Also, keep in mind that shelters and rescue groups usually spend a lot of time, effort and money to care for their animals and it is very disappointing when an adoption does not work out. Frankly, doing the 1/3 drive seems to be a reasonable request under these circumstances. I hope the dog gets a humane forever home next time.
 


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott

 

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