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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Lawyer (JD)
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
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I am in a dispute over ownership of a dog with the previous

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I am in a dispute over ownership of a dog with the previous owner. the previous owner is being very nasty and harassing about the issue. The cops have been called. I had almost given up and had made plans to give him the dog today at noon, but I have changed my mind and want to hire an attorney and take it to court. Unfortunately I cannot get a lawyer until Monday. He will realize later today that I will not be giving him the dog and I am sure the harassment will start again then. He says he has a bill of sale, but I don't believe him. He also said that I was in posession of a stolen gun, which I have verified with the sheriffs office as legitimate. He sold me this gun without a bill of sale earlier this yearso if it was stolen it came from him. He denies the sale. Because of this I believe that he is bluffing about having papers for the dog. The cops seem to think that it would be better for me to give the dog back as a show of good faith and then pursue a lawsuit. I do not want to do this because I fear that he will take the dog and I will never see it again even if I win the lawsuit. He is on bond right now and I am the signer. He says he has a place to live, but I question that to since I know he has been couch surfing since I bailed him out in October. He was on my couch for several months before I asked him to leave because he still did not have a job. As far as I know he still has no job. Serving papers to him could be difficult as a result. How do I get through this weekend?
Is there any court order with respect to the dog?
How did you come into possession of the dog if he is claiming ownership?
Does he have the paperwork of ownership for the dog in his name?
Are you related to this person?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
There is no court orders in respect to the dog. I began caring for the dog in august while he was in jail. He has verbally given me the dog and said so to both of my parents, but now claims that I was only temporarily taking care of the dog. He did not contribute to the care of the dog financially and while he was staying with me I still did all the day to day care tasks of feeding, giving breaks, etc. I can produce a witnes to a particular day when he let the dog out and it ran off and he just went back inside and did his thing while she and I. went out on foot looking and calling for him. He is claiming ownership. He claims he has papers, but everything thus far has been over the phone and they have not been produced. I don't think he has papers. We are not related and we have never been in an intimate relationship.
Dear JACUSTOMER - Legally a pet is considered the same as any other type of personal property and if he gave you the dog it is the same as giving you any other type of property and he has no right to retrieve it. So if there are no court orders then you are within your rights to keep the dog and the police should not be involved in a private, civil property dispute unless there are court orders requiring you to give up the property. So you can keep the dog until the court says you can't. Having said all of that, I cannot predict what some local cop will do as far as over stepping his or her authority with respect to this situation and it certainly isn't worth getting into trouble with the cops and having to pay an attorney to defend yourself if a cop orders you to give up the dog. Simply suggesting that you do so is not a direct order so you can ignore the suggestion. If he come to your house I would not let him in and if he threatens you then I would call the police and file charges. Only you can decide how important it is to keep the dog. There's really no point in calling a lawyer until the guy files something with a court. If you do hire a lawyer be prepared to pay something in the $1000-1500 range in a retainer. For now, you can claim the dog was a gift and force him to file a suit to get the dog returned.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I have told the previous owner that I will only turn the dog over with a court order and that I will retain a lawyer on Monday. He says he is sending the cops to get the dog. Do I just have to turn him over or can I did my heels in? That is if they show up.

If the cops show up and order you to give them the dog I would comply. If you defy the police and get arrested you are just creating more problems. You can always sue to have the dog returned but I would hate to see you get charged with some silly crime of disobeying a police officer. I will be very surprised if the police get involved in this and my guess is that this is an idle threat. The cops generally don't get involved in property disputes unless there is a court order. If the cops come and ask you for the dog you can say this is your dog and it is a dispute over property. They might walk away but if they demand the dog then I would turn it over to them.

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