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.


My aunt abused my dog while I was on vacation. What can I do?

My family and I went on vacation recently, and left our dog with my aunt for three days. We believed she'd be a fit dog-sitter because she already has a dog of her own. When we came back to retrieve our dog, though, we found that he had obviously been beat up (bloody legs and body, a patch of skin on his nose missing), and he hadn't been fed in THREE DAYS. I'm furious, and wondering if there's anything we can do legally. Not seeking specific advice, just if any options are available. Thank you.

By |2021-10-15T16:30:01+00:00October 6th, 2021|

My roommates took my cat claiming negligence.

Hello, I bought 2 cats with my roommate over a year ago. My roommate was the one working with the foster family and did paperwork while I just payed for the split cost of the two. Throughout the time we just split everything for the cats. She would get the stuff and I would pay for half. The housing situation became toxic staying with the roommates who have severe mental health issues and I could no longer be there. So I would go there and take care of my cat each morning before work. I never physically saw my roommates because they were either gone or sleeping, but they claim since they have not seen me that I am neglecting my cat and refuse to tell me where he is or give him back. I need help in if I should take this to court and guidance. Thank you.

By |2021-09-06T10:47:35+00:00September 6th, 2021|

Who do these dogs belong to now?

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? Thank you.

By |2021-10-06T10:00:43+00:00September 6th, 2021|

Shelter/Pound neutered dog without permission, knowing it was ours and a hunting dog.

Somehow our $2,000 hunting dog got out and we didn't know where he was until we called the pound which at that point they knew it was our dog and that it was an expensive hunting dog, which we also breed and has papers, the whole nine. Then fast forward a couple days and we go to pick him up and they have us sit and wait and talk to a bunch of people, who then proceed to tell us he should stay another day. At which point we asked why, and they told us he had been neutered and treated for heartworms. So we want a lawsuit taken against them if at all possible. Surely they can't grab peoples dogs and do things to the animal against the owners knowledge or consent and get away with it. Thanks in advance.

By |2021-09-06T10:36:50+00:00September 6th, 2021|

Can they enforce a leash law on 15 acres?

My neighbor of 25 years is calling animal control on me because my dogs, she indicates, trespass to her property. The issue is we live on 15 acres and where she is referring to is woods in which there isn’t a fence line, but a shared woods property line. She places trail cameras out and then calls animal control when my dogs go to the woods to chase deer. The county I live in has a leash law. So what recourse do I have? This is a farm, not a subdivision.

By |2021-08-30T13:35:51+00:00August 30th, 2021|

My dog has killed another dog in my own home.

So, we have a dog who has never been vicious towards people in any way and rarely does anything towards other animals. Unfortunately another dog had been left in our home to watch while we were away. Said other dog was a small dog who tried to assert dominance a few times. Unfortunately the latch on the kennel wasn’t completely latched and we don’t know what happened other than it looks like our dog bit him and he had died....

By |2021-08-30T13:30:19+00:00August 30th, 2021|

Can abusive owner get dog back?

If a dog was taken from an owner due to animal cruelty can the owner get the dog back? I called on a neighbor of mine and I’m just hoping he won’t hurt the dog again.

By |2021-08-30T13:23:28+00:00August 30th, 2021|

Neighbor dog attacked mine on my property.

I live in small town, Washington. There is no animal control. My Neighbor regularly has her dogs off leash in her unfenced yard. Every time I have my dogs in my yard and hers notice, her dogs run to my yard and attack mine. The sheriff tells me I need to ask her to leash her dogs before bringing mine outside our fence both in my own yard and on the city street and sidewalks near her house. I cannot safely use my own yard for my dogs as long as hers are outside their fence. Do I have any legal repercussions? I have video evidence of their dog attacking mine in my own yard.

By |2021-08-17T16:59:48+00:00August 6th, 2021|

I am being sued by the adoption agency for breach of contract.

I am being sued by the adoption agency for breach of contract and they want the dog back. I purchase a dog from a rescue over a year ago we gave them the check, signed paperwork, and currently have the dog registered with LA County, and the chip registered also in our name. The adoption agency is saying that they want the dog back for breach of contract because we didn’t allow them to come for a wellness check.

By |2021-08-17T16:55:02+00:00August 6th, 2021|

Are rescues allowed to set their own adoption rules?

During the home check procedure I applied for an indoor only cat but she is desperate to go out. The rescue has said that if I let her out they can take her back. Is that true? I did sign a contract but the contract said nothing about indoor/outdoor. Are rescues allowed to set their own rules or does there need to be some legal standing behind their rules?

By |2021-09-09T17:32:40+00:00August 5th, 2021|