I received a dog in April 2023 from a lady who couldn't keep him. She had initially planned to give him to someone else. I kept the dog until October 28th when I had to move, and he wouldn't ride in the bed of a truck. I rehomed him and have messages confirming she gave him to me. Now, she's claiming I stole the dog. Can I get in trouble for rehoming him, considering our agreement was never about keeping him until she got on her feet?
People who give away or sell their animal generally have no further rights to that animal and the person to whom the animal was given or sold generally has no legal obligation to return the animal and may rehome the animal, unless there was an agreement stating otherwise. People who believe that their animal is being wrongfully withheld may sue to try to get the animal returned and/or for money. However, many more people threaten to sue than sue (it can be costly and take a lot of time) and just because a person sues does not mean that he/she will win the case. While the police may also be contacted, they do not usually intervene in animal custody disputes. In the meantime, it may be helpful to have readily on hand evidence that the dog was gifted to you (even emails and texts), and veterinary records, microchip and dog license registration.
Hopefully, most people would not rehome their animal simply because transporting the animal when moving became difficult. I hope this works out well for the dog!
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