Stolen Dog.


I apologize for any confusion in this situation. Recently, a woman passed away, leaving her dog. The legal executor of her will registered the dog's microchip in their name. They then legally transferred ownership to my mom. After a call from another family member who claimed ownership, my mother, confused about the custody, gave the dog away. When she informed the legal executor, they reported the dog as stolen. The current possessor refuses to return the dog. Should we file Small Claims and a Replevin Action? Please help!


It really complicates matters that the call to Peg was not made before the dog was given to Peg’s sister, although you already know that. I cannot say what right Peg had to take the dog and to rehome the dog. There are issues to consider, such as whether there is a trust or will that says who gets the dog or the decedent’s property, or whether the decedent died without a trust for the dog or a will, in which case intestacy laws would normally apply. It is unclear from your inquiry if the decedent had other next of kin, such as parents, children, or more siblings who may claim rights. People who believe that their animal is being wrongfully withheld can commence a lawsuit. Small Claims Courts in New York handle money disputes and not lawsuits for the return of property (or animals). This type of lawsuit would need to be brought in another court. Consider consulting with the attorney who handled the estate. If a lawsuit is commenced, I suggest attorney representation.

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By |2024-01-17T17:08:28-04:00December 6th, 2023|