There is really nothing for your son to do at this time. If his former girlfriend wants the dog back, it would be incumbent upon her to take action to do so. As to that, her legal options would be to call the police or sue him in civil court.
If she calls the police to report the dog as stolen, then the police would likely come to the house. Once your son explains that she gave the dog to him and that it has been in his possession for seven months, the police would most likely tell her that it is a civil matter and that there is nothing they can do.
Her other option would be to sue in civil court. If she were to do that, his defense would be the same, that being that she gave him the dog. Presuming that he can prove this out, it seems likely that he would prevail.
Please let me know if anything requires clarification.
Also, several customers have asked how they may direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to assist you in your legal matter, just put "FOR JOSEPH" in the subject line and I will gladly pick up the question as soon as I am on-line.
Unfortunately, there really is no legal action available to you to prevent her from taking some future legal action.
However, there are some things you can do to ensure that the dog stays with you. If you are concerned about her trying to just come over and take the dog, make sure that the dog is secured in such a fashion so as she cannot do this. Also, continue to act as though the dog belongs to you. By this I mean take the dog to the vet, provide proper care and otherwise act as the rightful owners.
Please understand that dogs are considered property, just like a chair or a table or a television. Also, possession of property creates a presumption of ownership. As such, there is really nothing to sue her for in this situation.
The chip presents an interesting situation. If you have requested that she put the chip in your name and she has failed/refused to cooperate, then you could consider a small claims lawsuit requesting assistance from the court to get her to do so. My concern though is that forcing the issue may not be prudent.
While I do understand your concern about "sit around and worry", if you do nothing, she may do the same. The net result is just what you desire....the dog remains with you. Conversely, if you take a proactive stance and file a lawsuit, this may force her to respond in kind and file a lawsuit against you. While my speculation is that you would prevail, it is just that, speculation. We must acknowledge that it is possible you would lose and the dog would then be taken from you.
CAN you be proactive and take the matter to court? Sure. SHOULD you be proactive? That's a tougher question and one that can only be answered by you. If, understanding the risks, you still prefer the proactive approach, then proceed accordingly.
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