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Was there a legal order of shared custody in the courts?
If so what was the order?
When was the order put in place?
Here is the problem, since you had a agreement years ago the judge will likely enforce it. While there is nothing stopping you from picking up the dog. He will likely report the theft and you could be charged with theft of the dog. Keep in mind that since he has had the dog 11 years the courts are going to side with him that he is the majority owner of the dog.
At this point your only recourse is to take this to court. At that time you can argue the case and request a court ordered visitation or ownership of the dog. I know you do not wish to go to court but at this time that is your only real option other then taking the dog and possibly being charged with theft.
I am basing my answers on your original question. You stated that he had the dog and was withholding visitation. (That would imply he has ownership and you have visitation). I am sure he can get plenty of people to claim the dog lives with him full time and they see the dog laying in the road everyday........your own statements confirm this.
As for would a verbal agreement stand up if it was not written the answer is yes....a verbal agreement is just as enforceable as a written agreement, the only difference is a verbal is harder to prove if one person is lying.
As far as theft.......no he would not gave committed theft as he has had the dog as agreed upon. This is a civil issue and one that must be decided in civil court. If you take the dog, the police are going to be required to arrest you for theft........I just want you to know the full story before taking action. He is going to tell them that there was a verbal agreement and you came and took the dog without permission thus making it a theft case.
If you have the dog, and he came to your house and took the dog without permission then you could file a theft case. The fact is this is civil..........and no one can change this without a court order. Right now he would be the presumed owner since the dog is with him. If you take it that would be theft. You must change ownership of the dog before you can take it.
I am sorry, I wish I had better news.