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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
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Our granddaughter has broken up with her boyfriend. They have

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Our granddaughter has broken up with her boyfriend. They have 2 puppies about 8 months old. They only have vet bills that show both her name as well as her boyfriend. She wants to keep the puppies as he will have to cage them 10 hours a day and, living in a trailer, he has no yard. She lives with her mother and has a fenced yard. She wants legal custody. Your words of wisdom will be appreciated. Residence is Florissant, MO.

Thanks.

Carol Lankston [email protected]
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your granddaughter's situation. At this point, she may wish to pursue a a small claims court matter here. See
here for a quick overview, and here for a guidebook for small claims.

Under MRS 482.305, the court has jurisdiction over any case under $5,000.

The puppies here are "items," I hate to say it, as the law sees them. As such, since they both have right to possession, but if they cannot agree to it, the Court will make a determination for them.

To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state. Every cause of action has its own elements, and each element has to be satisfied for a cause of action to be successful in court.

She may have a cause of action for conversion and trespass to chattel.

The following three elements must be established to prove conversion: (1) plaintiff was the owner of the property or entitled to its possession; (2) defendant took possession of the property with the intent to exercise some control over it; and (3) defendant thereby deprived plaintiff of the right to possession. Manzer v. Sanchez, 985 SW 2d 936 - Mo: Court of Appeals, Eastern Dist., 5th Div. 1999.

Chattel means non-real estate property. A trespass to a chattel may be committed by intentionally intermeddling with a chattel in the possession of another. FOREMOST INS. v. PUBLIC SERVICE COM'N, 985 SW 2d 793 - Mo: Court of Appeals, Western Dist. 1998.

With presentation of these two claims, the Court will then decide on what is most fair for them as well as best for the puppies. Hopefully, he will decide in her favor.

Do not worry, the Court does not expect her to be like a lawyer in Court. The Court expects individuals to explain their complaint and then in small claims, the Judge usually helps to 'develop' the case and put into into a legal perspective, and then renders a decision.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Best of luck.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ely,


Thank you for your assistance. The answer makes perfect sense to me. Should she take the vets bills to court? Should she get a paper from the people who gave them the puppies? Does she need photos of the yard and/or the puppies?


 


Carol

Carol,

Thank you for your assistance.

My sincere pleasure. I love animals.

Should she take the vets bills to court? Should she get a paper from the people who gave them the puppies?

The vet bills are not a bad idea. There is no need for any affidavit from the seller if there is already paperwork that names both of them as the buyers, since, this serves to show that both of them have rights to the puppies.

Does she need photos of the yard and/or the puppies?

This would be very helpful. And perhaps, the area where he plans to keep them.

However, in the end, the Court is more likely to focus on what is more fair to the owners. What is in the best interest of the puppies is HELPFUL, but is not controlling - but - does help make her case anyhow.

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