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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 112676
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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How can I get my pet back from its previous owner who refuses

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How can I get my pet back from its previous owner who refuses to give her back due to her getting out of a fenced in yard. I did not find out until around 5pm that the dog was loose on 05/30/2013 and my teenage daughter posted it on Facebook the previous owner saw the post went to Tampa Fl from St. Petersburg FL was able to retrieve dog and now will not return said pet. States that I was irresponsible for the dog to get out and do not deserve to have dog anymore.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to providing you the information you are seeking.

Pets are treated as property under the law. If you were given the pet and there is no written contract about the previous owner being able to reclaim the animal, then they have committed theft and you can start by filing criminal charges against them to recover the dog. You can also, if the police refuse to get involved as they should in absence of a written contract, sue in court for the suit of "replevin" which is the common law cause of action for return of your property, as well as conversion for them taking the property and using it as their own and for the damages for them taking your property.

The botXXXXX XXXXXne is absent written contract if you were given the dog the dog was your property and the previous owner had no legal right to come and take your property.



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Law Educator, Esq. and 12 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I would like to file in small claims court but how do I go about and doing that. Could you help me with that or do I have to go and locate a local attorney. Also while waiting for Jess to give dog back I went to the Vet Office and had them run off copies of all the vet bills plus her surgery that was back in Feb/March of 2013 for tumors that we thought were malignant. Would it be beneficial if I got affidavits from neighbors and the vet as back up?

Small claims court can only award money damages, they cannot order property to be returned, it is not within their legal jurisdiction. Furthermore, if you would file in small claims for money damages, you would have to file in the small claims court where the other person lives because small claims courts have limited personal jurisdiction over the area they control, so if this person lives a long way from you, then you have to travel there to sue them in small claims.

We cannot represent anyone from this site I am afraid, you would have to sue in the circuit court and would need to get a local general litigation attorney at the same sites used by other attorneys to find local attorneys, http://www.martindale.com or http://www.hg.org.

The affidavits and vet bills are proof of your ownership, which you can attach to your suit, but when it comes to trial, your witnesses have to physically appear and testify as an affidavit cannot be used as actual evidence in a trial (a real person has to testify).



Thank you so much for using JustAnswer.com. I truly aim to please you as a customer, but please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered. PLEASE use REPLY to EXPERT if you would like more information or if you feel something was not included in your answer.

Kindly remember the ONLY WAY experts receive any credit at all for spending time with customers is if you click on OK, GOOD or EXCELLENT SERVICE even though you have made a deposit or are a subscription customer. YOU MUST COMPLETE THE RATING FOR THE EXPERT TO RECEIVE ANY CREDIT, if not the site keeps your money on deposit.

Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very much for all this crucial and excellent information on getting our beloved pet back.

Thank you very much.