My grandparents owned two dogs. They are currently going through a divorce. She moved to GA and left both dogs behind. It has been a year and half since she left. She has been back in Alabama 3 times and never took the dog back to Georgia either of those 3 times. I asked my grandfather if I could have one of the dogs & he willingly gave her to me. She has been living with me for a little over a month now, I have paid for flea/tick medication, food and supplies. I have taken great care of her since she has been with me. I posted pictures of the dog on FB and word got around that I had the dog. Now she is demanding I give the dog to her & is threatening to bring the police to my door. Do I legally have to give the dog to her? Or is she legally mine since the owner she was living with gave her to me?
Generally when a person gives his/her animal away, such person has no further rights to that animal and the person to whom the animal was given is the animal’s new owner. These situations get more complicated when the ownership rights of the person who gave the animal away is questioned. If litigated, courts, in determining ownership rights, will consider the evidence, including, for example, that the person claiming to own the animal left the animal behind for more than a year. In the event the police intervene or a lawsuit is commenced, it can be helpful in these situations to have proof of ownership on hand (such as a dog license, microchip registration, veterinary records in one’s name as owner, and an agreement signed by the previous owner, your grandfather, giving you the dog). I hope this all works out for the dog but please consider that if these dogs are bonded, keeping them apart is not the humane thing to do.
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