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Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16359
Experience:  13 years experience, divorce & custody issues, protective orders, child abuse issues
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My dog was picked up by the pound, when I was on vacation,

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My dog was picked up by the pound, when I was on vacation, and a Golden Retriever rescue adopted him. When I contacted the rescue and they will not give him back nor will they even let me adopt him back. When I first contacted them, he had not been adopted and still did not even have a foster home. Can you please help me?
Dear Tanna:

I am sorry to hear that you are having these problems getting your dog back.
There are a couple of things that come to mind. First, how do you prove that he is your dog? Does he have a microchip? If not, you may have trouble proving he is yours.

You can sue the rescue league for return of your property, but they legally got him from the pound, so your chances are slim and this would take months and months.

I would imagine the reason they will not adopt him back to you is because of you going on vacation and not having him in a kennel or with someone else. If you had him in the back yard with no one to check on him, that could be animal cruelty or worse. So be careful in getting too aggressive with them.

This is a thought, if it were me, I would find a friend who would qualify for adoption to take him. This way he is at least where I would know that he is safe and I could 'visit'. Of course, if he follows me home.....

I would not go with my friend to pick out her new puppy.

Good luck and Godspeed.

Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then please feel free to ask for clarification.

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DISCLAIMER: Please understand that the complexities of most legal problems cannot be adequately addressed in this setting, and that I am only licensed to practice law in the states of Florida and Mississippi. Accordingly, you acknowledge (1) that we have not formed an attorney-client relationship, and (2) that my post is general information only and not specific legal advice.

Please remember that we have not created an attorney-client relationship, and that my post is not intended to be specific legal advice. The answers given are limited to the information you have provided in your post. For specific legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed in your state.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
My dog was with a neighbor. I can prove he is mine through dna, papers, license, pics. I have contacted everyone I can think of. I already tried to have him adopted by my dad and they said by the time they checked my dad out then he would be gone. I have tried to contact the shelter multiple times and they will not reply at all. Your answer has not helped me at all.
Hello, I see that the other expert has opted out. Maybe I can help.

One other option you may try is to go ahead and file suit against the company that adopted him out and the company that adopted him, and as part of that suit file for an emergency injunction in which you request that the court prohibit them from selling the dog until after the proceedings have concluded. You may also ask that the property (the dog) be returned to you, pending resolution of this matter. It is a long shot, but it would be the quickest way to stop them from selling the dog at least until you can be heard before a judge.

If you are not familiar with the process of filing a lawsuit, then it will require the assistance of an attorney. You can contact your state bar association's lawyer referral service for a reference and possible probono assistance.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I am already working with a lawyer but he has not got back to me today and I am getting very impaitent. I was hoping I might get some better answers from you. I was hoping someone who was familiar with this type of case could help me out. It sounds like you are just going by the book like everyone else.
Sorry, I am not sure what you expected, but legal procedure is literally by the book. We have to go by the book to ensure that the process fair and just, and so that if ever you have to appeal you have a sufficient basis to do so. Also, in this case, when asked what all you had tried, you didn't mention that you had consulted a lawyer. In any case, it is good that you have, because you wouldn't want to open yourself up to any potential liability or make the situation worse by trying to do something outside the book. If I can suggest any last thing, it is that you stay on your lawyer to see if you can get the injunction ASAP, otherwise, as the dog is transferred from person to person, it will become virtually impossible to get him back. Good luck.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I don't think I am going to get the help I need from justanswer

It just may be that you won't get the answer you want from lawyers.
Hello -- I am another lawyer here at Just Answer and I have a different suggestion than using a lawyer. Go as fast as you can to the nearest small claims / civil district court and file a small claims action against the rescue group for failing to return your dog/ unlawfully keeping your dog. You do not say what the value of the dog is (how much you paid for him), but in the eyes of the law, a dog is considered personal property (like a car or a couch) and if someone takes other pieces of personal property you are entitled to go to small claims court to sue to get that property back -- and a dog is no different in the eyes of the law. I understand where you are coming from (I own 3 dogs, one a golden retriever and I love her to death!), but the law recognizes the dog as just another piece of property and so you need to get to small claims court to get your property back (the small claims limit in CA is $10,000, so you are all set on that front -- your dog, at purchase, could not have been more than $2,000). Here is the website where you can get the forms for small claims court in California (and there is a great explanation of the whole process): Open the website page and scroll towards the bottom -- you will see a link that says "Forms for Small Claims Cases" -- click on that link and the very first link on the next page is forms for Plaintiff's Case -- scroll down the page -- you need forms SC-150 and SC-100. There is a small fee associated with filing in small claims and for the narrative, write that the "Defendant refuses to return my personal property: namely one golden retriever dog, value $1,000." write in there that you would like an immediate injunction to stop the rescue group from placing the dog with anyone else, and if they have done so, to get the dog back. When you go to the court -- go to the clerk's office for civil business and ask the person at the counter for a date as soon as possible (tell them what happened, they may be able to get you in sooner if you get a sympathetic ear). The summons will go out to the rescue place almost immediately, so they WILL know that they are being sued over this issue. So, my suggestions to you are not to wait for your attorney in this situation, because in CA you are not allowed to bring an attorney to small claims court -- so the only thing your attorney can do for you is file a full-blown lawsuit, and that will take way too much time to get your dog back (and it will cost you a small fortune to boot)! GOOD LUCK. You sound like a very loving doggy Mom and I feel for you -- if it were my golden retriever I would be tearing down their walls in order to get her back!!! Please let me know if you have further questions -- but I think if you get into small claims court as soon as possible, that is your quickest way to get this matter heard and hopefully the court will side with you on this issue.

Edited by MaryMeadenEsq on 11/10/2009 at 7:56 AM EST
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16359
Experience: 13 years experience, divorce & custody issues, protective orders, child abuse issues
Legalease and 6 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
I agree, but... Either way, her options are to file suit (with lawyer) and request injunction. Or, file suit (herrself) and request an injunction. It is still pretty much "by the book", the big one with all the laws in it. The only thing outside the book would be taking the dog, and of course that would result in criminal charges, not to mention a lawsuit.