What are one’s rights as a secondary dog owner?

////What are one’s rights as a secondary dog owner?


A year ago I got a beautiful bernese mountain dog for me and my family. My girlfriend at the time helped me purchase the dog. I was asked if I wanted my girlfriend to be a secondary owner to the dog, to which her answer was immediately yes. Although I paid for the majority of the dog and signed as the primary owner, does my ex girlfriend have the right to take the dog whenever she likes? She does not have a suitable living area for a dog that large, and she has a long history of abusing and doing things that I didn't like to the dog. I even have a screenshot of a text of her saying that she doesn't want the dog anymore because "she's a terror to him", but then a week later she took back the statement. I don't feel comfortable with him under her care, and I hope I gave enough information to get a clear answer.


Unfortunately, I cannot give you a definitive answer to your question. When animals are shared, it is difficult to predict rights. Ultimately, if the parties cannot agree on a pet custody agreement and a lawsuit is commenced, the court will consider the evidence presented and determine rights. How much weight a given court places on whose name appears on adoption papers, microchip, license, veterinary records, who pays more for the animal's needs, who is the animal’s primary caretaker, what is in the best interests of the animal, etc. depends on the judge as is reflected by the different pet custody decisions in NY.

PLEASE NOTE: Responses to legal inquiries are not meant to replace seeking legal advice from an attorney in your state. The materials in this website and any responses to questions are for informational purposes only and are not intended, nor should they be construed, as legal advice. This website, the information contained herein, and any responses to questions directed to this column are not intended to create and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely or act upon any information provided on this website or in any response to your inquiry without seeking the advice of an attorney in your state regarding the facts of your specific situation.

Send Your Pet Legal Question Now!

Elinor will field as many questions as she can and they will be posted here on this site. Due to the volume of questions received, not all questions are answered. However, many individuals have similar questions. You may find helpful information in the categories listed below.

Ask a Legal Question

By |2019-07-01T13:19:48-04:00July 1st, 2019|