I purchased a dog individually in 2015, while living with a girl. I just moved out about a month ago. When moving my stuff, she physically took possession of my dog and threatened to call police if I came near her to retrieve dog. I have not had access to the property since to get my dog. I filed complaint with police and private criminal complaint with magistrate because dogs considered personal property. Both of them told me this was a civil matter and would not get involved. I will do what it takes to get dog back. I have proof of ownership- sales invoice, vet registration and bills, dog also chipped. How would I go about getting my dog back?
People who believe that their animal is being wrongfully withheld can commence a civil lawsuit (replevin action) to try to get the animal returned. These cases can get complicated so attorney representation is generally very helpful. Courts will consider evidence regarding proof of “ownership,” including, for example, who purchased/adopted an animal, under whose name the animal is registered, such as microchip, license, and veterinary records, who is the animal’s primary caretaker, who pays for the animal’s food, etc. Courts will also consider evidence regarding whether subsequent to purchase/adoption, an animal was given away, sold, or abandoned (and that can demonstrate that ownership changed, even if one party still has registration documentation). Some courts have considered the animal’s interests too.
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.