I have a bit of a complicated situation. My ex adopted a dog about 4 years ago. We started dating about a year and a half ago. About halfway through the relationship, we decided to part ways and he insisted that I keep the dog as he felt he would “hurt her” and he didn’t want her. I tried to support him and his mental health and insisted that she was his and he continued to try and push me to take the dog and I finally said yes. I brought her to the vet and found out she had gotten Lyme disease (he was not giving her tick or heart worm preventatives) so I treated that as well as her skin issues from allergies. This is all back about 6 months ago and now he is stating he wants the dog back and he was in a bad mental state. What can I do? Do I even have a case if he had the dog for 2 years before I even entered the picture?
People who come into a relationship with an animal can generally leave the relationship with the animal, but there are exceptions. People who give away their animal typically have no further rights to that animal. Also, as the expression goes, “Possession is nine-tenths of the law.” While that expression does not always hold true, the burden to try to get an animal returned generally falls on the person who does not have possession at the time (and many more people threaten to sue than sue). The police may also be contacted although the police do not usually get involved in pet custody disputes between exs. In the meantime, it can be helpful to gather any evidence that the dog was gifted, even texts and emails, plus veterinary records, microchip, license, etc.
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