I have been sheltering a cat during quarantine for a shop that didn’t have a plan to care for the cat during quarantine when no one would be visiting the shop on a regular basis. There was no clear agreement about how long I was taking him for. When I picked up the cat, he was extremely dirty. I have cared for him and bought him food for two months. I’ve spent every day and all day with him. He’s extremely well cared for. The shop owner who lives in NYC only part time now wants the cat back in the shop, but I’m scared he’s going to be traumatized. I would like to adopt him but they said no. What are my rights?
As the expression goes, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Fostering implies a temporary arrangement so generally a fostered animal is not owned by the temporary caregiver. However, sometimes there is a misunderstanding regarding the arrangement, particularly when the agreement is not in writing. For example, while one person may say the agreement was for fostering the other person may say the animal was actually gifted to him/her. People who believe that their animal is being wrongfully withheld can sue to try to get the animal returned. These cases can be time consuming and costly so unless a person is bonded with an animal, he/she may be less likely to commence such a lawsuit. People who believe their animal is being unlawfully withheld can also contact the police although the police tend not to get involved in animal custody disputes particularly when transfer of possession of the animal was voluntary (as compared to pet theft). I hope this all works out for the cat.
Send Your Pet Legal Question Now!
Elinor will field as many questions as she can and they will be posted here on this site. Due to the volume of questions received, not all questions are answered. However, many individuals have similar questions. You may find helpful information in the categories listed below.