Last week, we found a 16 week old puppy with health issues. We called the number on his collar, and the person stated that he did not want him anymore. The dog is registered in our household now, and has visited our vet already. Recently, the original owner said he regrets that he gave him away, and he is demanding that we give him back. Is there any legal action he can take to actually take him back? Can we fight it?
Generally when a person surrenders/gives away his/her animal such person has no further rights to that animal. Regrets do not equal rights. People who believe their animal is being wrongfully withheld can sue to try to get the animal returned (many more people threaten to sue than actually sue) and can contact the police (while the police investigate pet theft allegations they typically will not get involved in pet custody disputes). If there is no written transfer of ownership agreement and a lawsuit is commenced, the disputing parties often will present different versions of the verbal agreement. It can be helpful to have on hand proof of ownership, such as veterinary records, microchip registration, dog license, etc. in the event the police inquire or a lawsuit is commenced.
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