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Good morning. I am Loren, a licensed attorney, and I look forward to assisting you.
Was the dog abandoned by its previous owner? Was the dog conveyed contractually to the new owner?
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Was there an agreement with the previous owner that the dog would belong to the new owner if they paid the vet bill?
Ok...well, in any event, (if you are there) merely paying the bill without some prior understanding about conveying ownership of the dog would not convey ownership to the person paying the bill (any more than simply paying your neighbor's plumbing bill would give you ownership rights to their house).
The payer could have a claim for reimbursement to assert against the owner, but to convey title there would need to be agreement between the parties or, at the very least, some valid assertion that the animal was abandoned by the previous owner.
I realize this is probably not the answer you were hoping to receive. Also, please remember that this is not necessarily a moral judgement on my part. As a professional, however, I am sometimes placed in the position of having to deliver news which is not favorable to a customer's legal position, but accurately reflects their position under the law. I hate it, but it happens and I only ask that you not penalize me with a bad or poor rating for having to deliver less than favorable news.