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.


Is it legal for someone to give away my pet without permission?

I have been staying with my boyfriend’s parents at their house. I brought my kitten and they told me they wanted me to find a different home for it as they had too many animals already. The next day I come to find out my boyfriend’s mother had given my kitten away to one of her friends. I love my kitten and I want her back what can I do?

By |2019-11-12T17:27:49+00:00October 25th, 2019|

How can I get my dog back ASAP?

The police did a welfare check on me and then I went to the hospital for about 2 hours. When I got home my dog was gone. I originally thought my friend came by for me to watch her until I was out. I called to tell my friend I was home and she could drop my dog off, but turns out she didn't have her. I immediately called Animal Control to find out of they have her. They did and that's when I was informed they were called there by the police to get my dog.

By |2019-10-22T15:42:01+00:00October 22nd, 2019|

Was my cat killed?

I signed a surrender contract under great emotional distress, not of sound mind or body and duress, not knowing what I was signing and being pressured to do so by the shelter cat care coordinator. I trusted this shelter was no kill, but as soon as I found out they are a high kill shelter I went back and asked to have my cat back because I feared for his safety.

By |2019-10-04T13:24:05+00:00October 4th, 2019|

Whose dog is she?

So my ex and I got a dog together and since I have mental illness we got an ESA letter from my psychiatrist. But my ex took her and registered her under her name at city hall. Can I get her back anyway?

By |2019-10-04T12:59:03+00:00October 4th, 2019|

Harassment by a vet tech because I declawed my cat

I adopted a cat in June. We've been having behavioral issues with her from day one. I inquired with the cat's foster mom about the cat being relocated to another home. After a few days, I reconsidered and wanted to continue trying to help the cat adjust. The foster cat mom is a vet tech at a local vet clinic, but not the clinic I take my animals to. She took it upon herself to contact my vet office and request my cat's medical records without my consent. She found out I declawed my cat and she flipped out. She then harassed me via text demanding the cat be returned to her.

By |2019-10-22T15:21:46+00:00September 30th, 2019|

Animal Protective League threatened to take my dogs.

The Animal Protective League officer called me and told me my dogs should be outside in the heat because I have a big fenced in yard with plenty of shaded areas. She told me that if I didn’t answer my phone, she would have to take my dogs away. Did she have a right to do that without a warrant?

By |2019-07-23T15:47:37+00:00July 23rd, 2019|

My neighbor keeps taking my dog home.

My mom is watching my dog and has been occupied with having a family issue and needs to be 3 hours away. I am leaving family friends to watch my German Shepard husky mix. He is known for running through the electric fence if not watched, and he will run to the end of the neighborhood and then come back within 15 minutes. One of the people that lives at the end of the road keeps bringing him in her home and not calling us to come get him, and then will release him hours later. We have all talked to the lady about not brining him inside, and she constantly does it. Is there anyway I can keep her from doing this even though I live in a different country and can't get home myself to fix the issue?

By |2019-07-23T15:44:09+00:00July 23rd, 2019|

An adopter returned a dog to our rescue.

A family adopted a dog as a puppy from our organization. Three years later, the dog and the other dog in their house are having issues and fighting regularly. The adopter contacted the rescue to take the dog back or they will have to euthanize. We (the rescue) of course took him back. He was dropped off at our vet by the adopter. Then over a week later, the family decided they wanted the dog back. Due to safety and fear of another altercation, the rescue has refused to return dog. Does the adopter have rights to him still?

By |2019-07-23T15:41:25+00:00July 23rd, 2019|