Is this considered permanent ownership of an animal?

////Is this considered permanent ownership of an animal?


My sister-in-law put her dog into our care over a year ago and said it was temporary. My husband and I are now separated and she's requesting the dog back over a year later. My children are now very attached to the dog and my sister-in-law is insisting that it was a temporary situation. She's never showed interest in the dog until now and she also informed my husband that if she got another dog that we can keep Princess in our care. What should we do, and is this considered permanent ownership of Princess on our part?


Hopefully, you, your husband, and your sister-in-law can work out an amicable arrangement. Based on your email, it sounds as if she might be willing to get another dog so consider working with her on getting that done. If litigated, courts would consider whether the dog should be deemed abandoned or gifted (or returned based on a temporary boarding agreement). In determining this, courts would consider the terms of the agreement and if the agreement was breached (although unless the agreement is in writing, often disputing parties have different versions of the agreement), whether any boarding fees were paid, how long the dog was left beyond the agreed upon time, etc. Even if a court decides the dog was abandoned or gifted, it is unclear whether the dog would be considered yours or your husband’s. I hope Princess is doing well and this works out for her!

PLEASE NOTE: Responses to legal inquiries are not meant to replace seeking legal advice from an attorney in your state. The materials in this website and any responses to questions are for informational purposes only and are not intended, nor should they be construed, as legal advice. This website, the information contained herein, and any responses to questions directed to this column are not intended to create and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely or act upon any information provided on this website or in any response to your inquiry without seeking the advice of an attorney in your state regarding the facts of your specific situation.

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.

Ask a Legal Question

By |2018-06-26T15:59:58-04:00May 12th, 2018|