My roommate and I got a dog, but she is on the adoption papers because she is 21. Since we have had her she does not take care of her at all. I take care of her, I cover the vet bills, and I buy food, etc. She is saying legally it is her dog. But how is that possible if she isn't even caring for her? She is chipped under me as well. I paid the adoption fee but she used her card.
Ownership is not always clear when people acquire an animal together and share in the animal’s care and expenses. People who believe that their animal is being wrongfully withheld (which can happen when one roommate moves out and takes the animal), can sue (replevin action) to try to get the animal returned. The court will consider who adopted the animal (and having one’s name on adoption papers can be very compelling evidence of ownership). However, the court may also consider what transpired after adoption, such as who has been the animal’s primary caretaker, paid for the animal’s needs, and listed as owner in veterinary and other records (microchip, license, etc.). I hope that you and your roommate can amicably work out a pet custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the dog.
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