Almost a year ago, I started dogwatching my mom's boss’s dog. This summer will be a year. The son, 14 and mother went on vacation for 2 months. When they came home from vacation they were too busy to get the dog back. They eventually took the dog back for a couple days but then gave him back to us because they didn’t want to deal with his accidents and everything else. They ask occasionally if they can have him back. They want him back and then change their mind. This is my dog now. He sleeps with me every night. He’s never alone ( I work from home) he takes walks every day, never in a cage and is super loved. When he first came to be with us he was in a cage and we were told he pretty much stays in the cage all day and night. He was a completely different dog. I don’t want to deal with the heartache of having to worry if they’ll fight me every once in awhile and decide they want him. How do I go about making sure they can’t do that anymore? The mom doesn’t even want him, it’s the son that wants him.
Any help is appreciated.
There is no way to ensure that a person won’t try to claim an animal or ask for the return of an animal. That does not mean compliance with the request/demand is required in many situations, particularly when an animal was either given away, sold, or abandoned. If a lawsuit is commenced for the return of an animal (and many more lawsuits are threatened than actually brought), the court, in determining ownership, will consider whether there is evidence to indicate that the animal was given away, sold, or abandoned. Courts will also consider who has been the animal’s primary caretaker and paid for the animal’s needs (and for how long). Some courts also consider the animal’s interests. In the meantime, it is good to have on hand indicia of ownership, such as veterinary records. In one NJ pet custody case, the court ordered each person claiming ownership of a dog to have sole possession of the dog during specified time periods (although many courts have not ordered that kind of pet custody arrangement).
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