My sister is a drug and alcohol addict. When I helped move her out of her apartment she had 2 dogs that were neglected. She moved out and I took the dogs. She doesn’t come over my house to look at her dogs or inquire about them. I have now had the dogs for 6 months. Who do the dogs belong to now?
California and many other states provide a mechanism for when an animal left for boarding will be deemed abandoned. The California law (which applies to a veterinarian, dog kennel, cat kennel, pet-grooming parlor, animal hospital, or any other animal care facility) states that an animal will be deemed abandoned if not picked up by his/her owner within 14 days after the day the animal was due to be picked up. However, the rights of an individual who boards animals are unclear in those states where the laws are only applicable to certain boarding situations (veterinarian, kennel, etc.). If a lawsuit is commenced for the return of the dogs, it will be up to a court to decide ownership rights. I cannot predict how any given pet custody case will be decided. Depending on the evidence presented, it is possible that a court would decide that animals not retrieved by their “parent” in the agreed upon time should be deemed abandoned or gifted. Courts may consider such things as whether the person who placed an animal in another person’s care visited the animal or paid for the animal’s needs. Some courts also consider the well-being of animals when determining custody. In fact, a recent California law requires courts to consider the well-being of animals in divorce and legal separation cases. I hope this all works out well for these dogs!
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