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  • What constitutes dog ownership?

    Why is it so hard to define "dog ownership"? (This is long)

    A wife & her husband were "given" by wifes sister a puppy to raise & train in SAR (search & rescue).
    The SAR non-profit group leader wanted the dog donated to her.

    The sister didn't want SAR group leader to have dog, so she gave dog to her sister (the wife). She shipped dog to them, put AKC papers in their name, but did not claim IRS donation because it was her sister and not organization.

    For 3 years wife & husband personally trained the dog in SAR group, paid for all county tags,training supplies,food & vet and sheltered & loved the dog.

    During this 3 years,SAR group leader never said anything about dogs welfare or questioned ownership, nor contributed any money towards dog or training. Also when dog was certified, certification papers were in husbands name as he trained him.

    The SAR group leader decided she didn't like husband & wife in her group and kicked them out after 3 years.The rest of the SAR members thought this was wrong so they all left also.

    Now SAR group leader is mad and got a lawyer "pro bono" to sue husband & wife, saying dog was donated to her, and it's her dog and she wants it.(Note: the value of the dog is about $18,000. due to it being trained & certified.)

    SAR group leader has no documentation saying she owns dog, nor proof of ever paying a cent towards welfare of dog. But because she is "pro bono" and not paying a dime, she is making husband & wife pay thousands to defend their ownership of dog.She even requested the wifes sister who gave dog to them to show income tax proof that she never claimed the dog as donation. The proof was sent and she never claimed dog as donation on taxes.
    SAR group leader never sent her end of year tax deduction form anyway, SAR group leader had to know dog was never donated to them..

    Obviously she is now wanting the dog due to it's value.

    Why don't states have clear description of what constitutes dog ownership. It would seem if you had dog for 3 years,AKC papers in their name, licenses,pet food receipts,medical & rabies and certificates in your name you trained it...it would clearly be husband & wifes dog.

    Surely if SAR owner thought the dog was hers she would have said something in 3 years and contributed to bills and would want certificates in her name, or made a written training agreement.No nothing came up till the husband & wife left the group.

    Shouldn't this be a cut & dried decision? All the proof is with the husband & wife. They will be going to court in 2008. In the meantime they have put over $5,000.00 into lawyers fees fighting to keep their dog. It seems as if they are being drug over the coals.Lawyers saying AKC papers in their name means nothing.Then why does AKC hand out papers with names on them???

    What constitutes dog ownership?????Seems to me who ever buys county tag is owner and provides for welfare of dog.

    Please help me understand how the husband & wife can be ravaged by the legal system when thedog is clearly "owned" by them for 3 years.They are about to mortgage their house to keep the dog they love and raised and trained!

    Thanks in advance,
    Mary

  • #2
    Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

    Once the dog was given, unless there were explicit terms that governed when and how it was to be returned--the dog belongs to those that rec'd it.

    The court will agree.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

      I have a question that sort of deals with something of this sort. At the beginning of the summer (2007) I decided that I wanted to get a small dog to keep me company while I attended university. I planned on getting a pup from a local animal shelter. My boyfriend stated that he did not want me to get a dog there, due to the fact that it might not have gotten his/her shots, and might already be ill... so if the dog would pass away, he would not want to see my heart broken. He then suggested that I should get a dog from a private breeder. I told him that I could not afford a dog that way. He then suggested that he would buy the dog for me, under a verbal agreement that I would take care of him/her (providing a home, food, vet bills, toys, etc.)
      A few days later, we drove to meet up with the breeder to pay and pick up the puppy. I was so overwhelmed with seeing the dog, I ran right towards him and would not put him down. The breeder then needed to have paperwork done, since I was so preoccupied with the dog, I told my boyfriend to sign the papers for me. He then signed his own name to the papers. I didn't think this was an issue at first, but he then started saying that the dog was not just "mine" but that it was his also. In other words, he was saying that the dog was now "ours". Again, at first this all seemed fine, but later on throughout the relationship, we [just like any other couple] started disagreeing and realizing that we weren't meant for each other.
      What I am asking is, although I have been taking care of the dog since the day he was brought home, as well as paid for the vet bills and food; since the boyfriends name is on the papers and since he paid the $350... if we would break up, does he have rights to take the dog away from me and my family?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

        To unregistered poster on Dec 21st, 2007,

        Did you ever find out the answer to your question? I am having a similar problem with an ex wanting the dog that was clearly mine but now she says she wants the dog. She only wants the dog just to hurt me. Do you have any suggestions?

        Thanks!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

          Having the same exact problem here would love it if anyone had a answer

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

            well i have a similar problem. i wonder if someone can put my mind at rest. my partner at the time and i decided to get a dog. we went out and bought a lovely puppy. i looked after the dog and had him snipped and chipped in my name. we got the puppy in 2003 by the way. at the end of 2005 we moved into a property that did not allow animals. we had to find someone to look after the dog until such time we moved again. i met this lady quite elderly. i took my dog round to see her a few times and they got along well. we had a verbal agreement that she would look after the dog for me. we did not arrange a time limit. our agreement was that i would go round and see the dog whenever i liked, if for any reason she could not look after the dog or she did not want the dog it would be returned to me. when she went away on holiday i would look after the dog. anyway the lady changed the vets details to her name and obtained pet insurance for the dog, however i did refuse to change the micro chip into her name because it is my dog. the lady fell ill and was rushed to hospital. her friend took my dog and for two weeks i was not aware of this until i finally decided to go and visit. i got the dog back and found out that he was overdue by two months with his annual injections and he returned sick from this lady's friend. i am currently making arrangements to move to an address where i can keep him. i changed the vet details back to my name and have got pet insurance. however the lady is still not well and will need care at home. she is physically and mentally not fit enough to look after the dog, she is over 80 years old. my concern is her friend as this has nothing to do with her but she keeps harrassing me about the dog. i have explained that it has nothing to do with her. i have explained to the lady that she is not well enough to look after the dog and i will not return it as per our agreement. just to put my mind at rest is there anything that she can do as i clearly have the chip in my name and it has never been changed.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

              Basically the answer is, it is complicated. There are many things to consider. Pets tend to end up with the primary care giver if it is taken to court. Primary care is NOT who feeds, plays with, and buys things for the animal. It includes the following:

              Who paid for the pet?
              Who paid for any vet bills?
              Who paid for for any licenses needed?

              If the pet is not up to date on vaccinations or is not licensed where law requires it, the pet may not end up with either party.

              Vet bills and licenses will most likely end up being more important.

              In addition to that if there is a written or oral agreement about pet ownership, these hold out in court and are considered.

              Finally I would like to add that shelter pets and breeder pets are both good to adopt from. Before adopting you should find out about any prior care given, including vaccinations. It is possible breeders are not vaccinating and shelters are not vaccinating. Don't assume anything about prior care, ask for the paperwork when you adopt and buy a pet. As long as the pet was in the care of the shelter or with breeder they should have it. If it is not available... beware.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

                I need help. I answered an add on craigs list for a free chihuahua. The couple answered my reply and said I could come see it the next day. I went, fell in love (with the 3 yr old as I was told )chihuahua. Was told a friend of theirs gave him to them and they could not keep him, that he terrorized their cats.He said his wife would like a rehoming fee of $30.00 but he didn't care, I told him I had no money but promised to care and feed him properly and give him a good home. We drove 1 1/2 hrs to get there and same home, the pup curled up in my arms and was very cuddly loving and comfortable. I e-mailed them and assured them he was very happy - eating and seemed to like my cats and wanted to and still does want to be friends, my cats are a little shy, but not terrorized. They said thanks and were glad it was working out. I recieved a call two days later after the pup and I have fully bonded -he follows me everywhere, sleeps with me andd has made friends w/ nieghborhood dogs. The call came from the guy who gave him to me stating that the pup was lost and the owner had been on vacation for two weeks and now wants him back. I feel they abandoned him and I certainly would not go on a vacation if my pet/ family member was lost. Please Help me, I love this little guy and don't want to lose him!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

                  okay....i have been taking care of my brother-in-laws dog onyx for the past week, the owner went to jail for aggrevated assault on myself and his brother. the other day i was walking the dog and the poor dog started vomiting blood. i then took the dog immediatly to the vet got him a wellness plan and come to find out, the dog has never been seen by a vet other than getting spayed.

                  he has never had any shots, has roundworms, is infested with fleas, along with a severe case of heartworms. the vet states in the paperwork that the dog is ill and needs improvement.

                  i have set up all the treatments necessary to keep this dog alive unlike his owner who has been feeding him out of a rusted bucket and having the dog pull him on a skateboard while knowing the dog is sick. my question is, i know this is neglect, so how can i get this dog out of his custody and into mine? i have all the documentation for bringing the dog to the vet and getting all his shots including rabbies which is in my name aswell, and they list me as the owner on all the paper work.and he does not have anything to even say he ever brought the dog to the vet. i have spent $500.00 with food vets bills and insurance including all the dogs treatments, and still have to bring him back next month for his final meds for the heartworms and that will bring me upto $700.00.

                  i am also going to the county to register the dog in my name, what else do i have to do?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

                    I have a problem kind of similar to all of yours. But a different way how my husband and I ended up with the dog. My father in law died on Jan 1, 2009. And in his will his son my husband ended up will the house and all of the proptery and everything on and in the house. So, we ended up inherdeding a 13 year old boarder collie. We have been taking care of him for the last 6 months. Meaning buying his food and feeding him watering him etc.. The vet bills are in his and mine name. But the sister happened she is now claiming the dog. She hasn't had anything to do with this dog for YEARS. She came and took him today I was not happy. I was wondering how to fight this in court but I need to know everything legal thing for dog ownership on how to determine it. can anyone help?????

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

                      Originally posted by Unregistered View Post
                      Basically the answer is, it is complicated. There are many things to consider. Pets tend to end up with the primary care giver if it is taken to court. Primary care is NOT who feeds, plays with, and buys things for the animal. It includes the following:

                      Who paid for the pet?
                      Who paid for any vet bills?
                      Who paid for for any licenses needed?

                      If the pet is not up to date on vaccinations or is not licensed where law requires it, the pet may not end up with either party.

                      Vet bills and licenses will most likely end up being more important.

                      In addition to that if there is a written or oral agreement about pet ownership, these hold out in court and are considered.

                      Finally I would like to add that shelter pets and breeder pets are both good to adopt from. Before adopting you should find out about any prior care given, including vaccinations. It is possible breeders are not vaccinating and shelters are not vaccinating. Don't assume anything about prior care, ask for the paperwork when you adopt and buy a pet. As long as the pet was in the care of the shelter or with breeder they should have it. If it is not available... beware.


                      This about sums it up---good answer.

                      Then if it still goes to court you have to convince a judge you are really the one that cares for and owns the dog based on any and all evidence you have--and don't forget any witnesses that might be able to testify!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

                        I think dog ownership is a serious commitment that consists of vital duties. Before you decide to get a dog, you must pledge to be responsible.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

                          I have had a dog for 8 months that I got from a man who had the dog for approximately 30 days. The dog had no tags and showed up at his house. He attempted to locate owner, but didn't notify the local shelter. The dog was not housebroken so he decided not to keep it and offered the dog to us. We took it to the vet, spayed, shots, heartworm preventative, microchipped, etc. Have appropriate license and tag. I now have to go to small claims court because someone is claiming it is their dog. What will this person need to have to prove it is their dog and not mine? What do I need to take to court with me? Help!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

                            You can show all your records etc. and they may have to pay you for those costs since they allowed the dog to become lost but if it is their dog the court may very well order you to give it back.

                            You may have to argue they effectively lost all ownership when they allowed him to become lost and abandoned.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: What constitutes dog ownership?

                              I have a real similar question.
                              My fiance and I took over caring for a dog after our neighbor was arrested. When we took her in (about 2 weeks ago) she was dirty, smelly, flea infested and under weight (you could see ribs). Sine she has been with us, she has put on some weight and has become very playful and loving and just seems to be happy. I should also mention that this is the 2nd time she has been brought over in this condition.
                              We do know that the neighbor is going to be in jail for at least another 2 weeks if not more. Does anyone know if there is any legal way we can keep her. I have talked to our local Animal Control and they didn't know. My heart breaks at the thought of having to eventually send her back to a neglectful situation.

                              Comment

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