My neighbors have a dog named Whitey. They do not care for him, and he stays at our house 24/7. He never goes home, and they never come to get him nor call him home. Could I take him to a vet to get a rabies shot so he is legally mine?
Ideally, when ownership of an animal is being transferred the parties would sign a written transfer of ownership agreement. Such an agreement helps to avoid future ownership disputes. While paying for/purchasing an animal under these circumstances can seem unfair, sometimes it is the quickest way to resolve a dispute. When an agreement is not reached, ownership remains unclear. People who believe their animal was stolen or being wrongfully withheld may contact the police and may sue (replevin action) to try to get the animal returned. Many more threats of a lawsuit are made than actually brought. If litigated, a court could decide, based on the evidence presented, that an animal was gifted, abandoned, stolen, boarded, etc. Getting a dog a rabies shot does not in and of itself prove ownership. I hope this all works out for the dog. Good luck!
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