A friend left his dog with me and never came back for him. I have tried to reach this person but the last I knew he has no phone and no home and is unemployed. The last I saw of him he had no means of suppot to care for this dog. I have been paying for his vet care, medications and food. I cannot keep the dog but have found a rescue person who will take him. This person needs the dog signed over by the owner but the owner cannot be found. It has been at least 3 weeks since the dog was left with me. Can this dog be considered abandoned and therefore can I sign the dog over to this rescue person. I consider myself the owner of the dog.
State/Country relating to question: New York
When the person left the dog with you did he give the dog to you or simply ask you to watch him for a little while?
He asked me to take care of him "for a little while" which has turned into more than a month so far with no word from him at all. He knew I was going to be leaving where I lived and would not be able to keep the dog.
Ok, legally since he has not given you the dog and relinquished ownership, he has created a voluntary bailment. Basically a bailment is where someone entrusts personal property to another to hold for them. The bailor has the right to request the return of the personal property from the bailee at any time with notice. The bailee has a duty to exercise "reasonable care" in protecting and taking care of the property..In this situation, you would need to terminate the voluntary bailment by sending him notice certified mail to the last known address you have for him informing him that you are terminating the bailment and he has 10 days to come and claim the dog or you will consider it abandoned and dispose of it. If he does not respond within the ten days, you can consider the dog abandoned and sign the dog over. Keep your certified receipt and a copy of the letter so if it ever came up, you have proof you attempted to notify the bailor.
Attorney with 12 years experience
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