I rescued a mama cat from under my neighbor’s house and her kittens are feral. I've cared for them medically and everything else. The supposed owners were notified of her whereabouts when she was under the house and they did nothing. So I took them in and now the supposed owners are trying to say they want her back to sell the kittens. I've had them for 4 days and went through a lot to rescue them. The supposed owners have absolutely no proof and didn't rescue her or provide any type of shelter or food despite knowing where she was. Am I legally the owner since they've been in my care and these people have no proof?
I hope the cat and kittens are doing well. Establishing “ownership” of an animal would be up to the courts (if a lawsuit is commenced) in the event people cannot more amicably resolve the dispute. Courts will consider the evidence to determine rights, such as how and by whom the animals were acquired, whether the animals were abandoned, who has been the animal’s primary caretaker, paid for veterinary expenses and pet food, registered the animal, etc. Sometimes courts will also consider the animal’s best interests. The burden to bring such a lawsuit generally falls on the person not in possession.
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