I have a registered ESA animal (cat) that my ex-boyfriend is threatening to hide and keep. I had to leave for spine surgery and have been on disability for the past 4 months recovering. I have been unable to retrieve my cat because of this AND due to him being the perpetrator of domestic abuse. I contacted the police station and domestic abuse center (both local and hotline) and have been advised to find out what my rights are. I have had this cat since 2019, he is microchipped under my name (I have vet records as well) and only moved in with my unstable and abusive ex in 2021. I would really appreciate some advice as to how to proceed/understand my rights.
I suggest you consult with an attorney in your area for possible next steps. People who believe that their animal is being wrongfully withheld can commence a civil lawsuit (replevin action) to try to get the animal returned. Adoption/purchase agreements, microchip and veterinary records can help to prove ownership but courts may also consider what transpired after, including whether there is evidence that the animal was gifted, sold, or abandoned. I cannot predict the outcome of any given pet custody case. Also worth noting is that Colorado and many other states have enacted order of protection laws that include animals. One of these Colorado laws states that a court can issue a protection order “prohibiting the taking, transferring, concealing, harming, disposing of, or threatening to harm an animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by an alleged victim or witness.”
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