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Can I sue my friend for declawing my cats without permission?

Q:

I had to move out of my condo due to a breakup and move back in with my parents that would not allow me to take my cats with me. I asked a friend if he could care for them until I was able to get my own place again. I have kept in communication asking how the cats are, asking for pictures, and have even visited them a few times. I told this friend I was going to be moving out the 1st of next month which would imply I would be getting the cats. This morning this person has informed me the cats were at the vet being declawed; something I have always been against? What can I do?

A:

It seems as if you and your 'friend' may have different viewpoints regarding the animal care arrangement. Usually a pet-sitter would not bring another person’s animal to a veterinarian for declawing unless the animal’s ‘owner’ gave permission. If a veterinarian is made aware that the declawing is not authorized by the animal’s 'owner,' the veterinarian would likely not to do the procedure. It is so important that when making animal care arrangements the agreement be in writing and the terms of the agreement be very clear. Visiting with animals, asking for photos, and ‘implying’ that one will take animals back may be considered in court along with other evidence but alone do not necessarily prove that one still ‘owns’ an animal. I hope you and your ‘friend’ can agree to do what is best for the cats.


Submitted by Anonymous
Answered by Elinor Molbegott

 

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