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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 116727
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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I am being charged with theft for lost/ mislaid property of

Customer Question

I am being charged with theft for lost/ mislaid property of a dog. that I never had. my daughter and some friends actually found the dog on july 4th wandering in an alley where they were, it became dark and the dog had been staying by them all day. They took the dog home with them to care for the dog, when I came by to visit my daughter I noticed the dog and discovered it had an avid tag with a chip, I volunteer at a local shelter and borrowed their scanner to scan for a chip, I was unsuccessful and so called the number on the tag and they said the owner never changed owner ship and it was still registered witht he county shelter. I made several attempts to find the owner posting an ad on lost and found and on craigslist. I contacted the local shelter and gave them my phone number and had to call email them back because I had heard nothing. They I believe had forgotten to give them my number they had asked if they could give it if the people had called for the dog. I received a call on august 1st about the dog. many phone calls and texts between us not always able to return their calls, as I am an active shelter volunteer and work two jobs one of which is pet sitting. In the midst of all this I was in an accident and my daughters car was reposed and we were down to one car and plus I was on vacation. I guess my question is this, can I be charged with this and 2 can I counter sue for maliscious prosecution and defemation of character prior to my court hearing as this is damaging my crediability. a police officer actually contacted the police department shelter where I volunteer and talked to them about it and have never talked to me about it. I never had the dog, the only thing I did was try to get find the owner, do to time constraints I was unable to return the dog to the owner acutally I didn't even know who that was until court yesterday when served with papers at court. was the police officer allowed to do that. I am up for a jop with that police department.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for education purposes.

If you can prove what you did to try to locate the owner of the found property, then in court they would not be able to prove that you had any intent to permanently deprive the owner of the animal. This is what they need to prove you are guilty of theft, intent to permanently deprive and your proof of trying to locate the owner shows lack of such intent.

If the police do not have any of the evidence of your efforts to contact the owner, then this could be why they would charge you for theft of the animal.

If you prove the owner/police knew that you went through all of this to locate the owner to return the dog and they fabricated the charges against you, then you cannot sue for defamation, but you can sue for malicious prosecution but you have to win your criminal case first before you can sue for the malicious prosecution.

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