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.


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|

Neglected puppies now in my care, is it legal to keep them?

So my neighbors dog just had puppies about 7 weeks ago. They’re tiny little mix breeds (couldn’t tell you both breeds). We share a front yard and have never had issue sharing it, we both have other dogs. However since they’ve had these puppies they have not been properly taken care of. They are malnourished, smell like feecies , and were not given their vaccinations. We just got a puppy recently and he’s been doing wonderful until recently. The puppies started pooping in our side of the yard a green mucus based droppings and now my puppy just started the same. We took him to the vet and we were told it could be the puppies who are giving it to my dog. Well today the puppies were let out with no supervision into our yard and started fighting each other to eat one of my bigger dogs poop. It was not a beautiful sight, so we took the dogs inside, gave them a bath, food, trimmed their coats and nails. Could we confiscate the puppies legally?

By |2022-06-21T13:12:40+00:00June 17th, 2022|

Cat custody dispute – ASAP!

A woman left her cat to her ex (my roommate) 6 months ago for caretaking and left the country. During that time, she never contacted him and he gave the cat to me. I bought pet insurance & taken her to the vet (so I have medical records), have gotten her vaccines and cleared out an ear infection she had for years. The woman has now suddenly contacted my roommate asking for the cat back, while I want to dispute that. Unfortunately microchip is still registered under her name and she claims to have adoption papers. I have been taking great care of the cat - to which my roommate said the cat is much healthier & happier with me - and she has been a great emotional support animal for me. I need representation to fight this woman's claim to pet ownership - what do I need to do that?

By |2022-06-21T13:11:10+00:00June 17th, 2022|

My Service Dog Taken

People who believe that their animal is being wrongfully withheld can commence a civil lawsuit (replevin action) to try to get the animal returned. Consider that the person who has the dog may allege that the dog was re-homed, not left for a temporary visit. It may be helpful to gather evidence that indicates that the dog was not re-homed, even emails and texts. Veterinary records, microchip, dog license, and other registrations can help to prove ownership but they do not necessary do so in every instance. Courts may consider what transpired after, such as whether an animal was given away, sold, boarded, abandoned, etc.

By |2022-06-14T16:02:59+00:00June 14th, 2022|

I know of 2 dogs being neglected. What do I do?

I know of two dogs that are being neglected. Yes, they get fed and get water, but they don’t get baths nor do they get taken outside and are locked up in the same room 24/7 is there anyway I can get the dogs out of the original owners care and into my care?

By |2022-06-14T15:58:38+00:00June 14th, 2022|

Adoption of my boyfriends dog

I’m just wondering if there’s any way of me adopting my boyfriends dog and both have rights to look after the dog if we ever broke up.

By |2022-06-14T15:54:53+00:00June 14th, 2022|

Wife and I split and dogs are cooped up.

My wife and I split we got 3 German shepherds together and then we split over youngest child. She has 5 dogs and 1 cat on .36 acre lot living in double wide I have sent her a certified letter with visitation agreement with no answer and emailed her too what should I do to get visitation to our 3 animals so I can let them run and play on the 20 plus acres out of city limits.

By |2022-06-14T15:52:29+00:00June 14th, 2022|