Pet Legal Q&A

///Pet Legal Q&A

Elinor D. Molbegott, is an attorney who maintains a law practice devoted to animal law. Elinor donates her time to answer questions from North Shore Animal League America supporters who would like to learn more about animal law.


How can I legally claim an abandoned dog?

There was a dog left at the local vet and has not been picked up. The client was called everyday for the last 2 weeks. The client also expressed that she did not want to pay the 2k bill and she also stated that she is moving. What are the steps that we would need to do to legally claim the dog w/o any repercussions. The vet has no clue how to handle this.

By |2022-07-26T09:54:38+00:00July 10th, 2022|

Spouse threatening to take my ESA Cat to the pound.

My ESA cat has been hiding out in our room a lot since we got a very friendly excited dog. The cat has peed on my husband's laundry a few times (but has a history of peeing on various things occasionally in the past) now he's constantly threatening taking the cat to the shelter if it happens again. I'm breaking down in tears feeling like he'd be giving the boot to one of our children. Do I have any legal grounds to make him deal with cohabitating with the feline, since the cat is my ESA and one of the few things that still brings me joy?

By |2022-07-26T09:48:23+00:00July 6th, 2022|

Foster doesn’t approve of adoptive family

I am currently fostering a mom and 6 puppies that she had 2 days after we brought her home. They are 8 weeks old now and just attended an adoption event for the first time. The rescue originally told us we would have some say in who they were adopted to as the foster parents, and my neighbors who have been helping us care for them since they were days old has formed a close bond with one of the puppies. They made sure to submit their application and attend the adoption event so they could meet the rescue group and go through all of the proper channels. Later that day, the rescue informed us they chose a different family for the puppy AND were also going to allow this family to adopt our neighbor's second choice puppy as well, despite what we feel is best for the dog since she is already set up at our neighbor's vet and has bonded with their other dog as well. Do we have any rights as foster parents to refuse to adopt to a particular family if we feel it is not in the best interest of the dog?

By |2022-07-26T09:36:54+00:00June 30th, 2022|

Can I file a lawsuit against my groomer?

My pet was groomed as a first time customer on Tuesday June 14th and as soon as I picked her up from the groomers she required medical attention for her eyes because the person that was in charge of washing got soap in her eyes. Her eyes were bloodshot red, irritated, swollen and basically shut. That following day she refused to eat and woke up in the middle of the night having explosive diarrhea. She continued to have diarrhea for the next several days. She was hospitalized on June 17th because she’s not doing well. My question can we take legal action? We believe she got sick from the groomers and they have not returned our calls regarding the incident.

By |2022-07-26T09:20:19+00:00June 30th, 2022|

Can the rescue sue me for rehoming my cat?

I am rehoming my cats due to my fiancé’s severe allergy to them. I got one from a local cat rescue and I signed an adoption contract stating if I didn’t want him I would take him back to the shelter. He is bonded to my other cat and have been together for 2 years, I have a family member who would love them and could take them today. Can the rescue sue me for rehoming him?

By |2022-07-26T09:16:21+00:00June 30th, 2022|

Do I have to give both dogs back?

I got 2 dogs from a rescue and it's not working out with the female. I messaged the lady I got the dogs from, and she said if she had to come get the female she would take the male, too. Do I have to give up both dogs?

By |2022-06-28T10:22:37+00:00June 28th, 2022|

Who owns the kittens?

We live in an area where cats are frequently abandoned. One pregnant cat, took up residence in our barn. She had no collar and no one responded to postings so we decided to keep her. She was very skittish and would not come in the house. We set up a birthing box in the barn, but she had her kittens elsewhere. We searched and finally found them across a very busy highway in someone else's country home. They come down once a month. Found the 3-4 wk old kittens and took them home. They refuse to return them. Can we get them back?

By |2022-06-21T13:02:43+00:00June 21st, 2022|

Owner Prolonging Pick up – When can I declare puppy abandoned?

We agreed to help this woman house a dog she found chained up in the back of a property she just purchased. We agreed on 2 weeks or less, she's backed out of the set pick up dates twice now and even took a family trip out of town without paying us or bringing more supplies. The first week she gave us a cage, small amount of food, bowls and a leash. She supposedly brought her to the vet once but I'm unsure how true it is. If she tries to postpone the pick up again when can I declare the puppy abandoned? I ran out of food already.

By |2022-06-21T13:13:49+00:00June 19th, 2022|

How do I get my dog back?

So I adopted a dog from a local humane society paid the adoption fee. The director decided that she wasn't a good fit for me and made me bring her back. I felt like I was robbed of the adoption fee. Is there a lawsuit?

By |2022-06-21T13:19:49+00:00June 17th, 2022|