If I found a puppy and notified the shelter and police immediately can I hold the dog at my home until owner is found? Also, what happens if someone comes forward claiming that the puppy is theirs but has no proof?
New York State law does not prohibit finders of dogs to hold them as long as authorities are contacted. NYS law states: “The unauthorized possession of a dog or dogs, by any person not the true owner, for a period exceeding ten days, without notifying either the owner, the local police authorities, or the superintendent of the state police at Albany, New York, of such possession, shall be presumptive evidence of larceny." I suggest checking with local village/town/county clerks to make sure there are no local laws that require bringing stray/lost animals to shelters (although such laws are not common). Posting found dog fliers in the area where the dog was found can also be helpful. If a person believes his/her animal is being wrongfully withheld, such person can contact the police and can commence a civil lawsuit (replevin action) to try to get the animal returned. Proof to the satisfaction of the police or court that such person is the animal’s “owner” will be required (such as veterinary records, microchip, etc.).
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