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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 39010
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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Can I get back a dog that I gave away. No ownership papers signed

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If I gave a dog away but didn't sign over ownership in any document. Is there any way I can get the dog back after 3 days? My daughter, age 13, suffers from severe emotional problems and is going into severe depression now that the dog is actually gone. Her psychologists could explain this to the new owner, but it's unlikely they will care about my daughter; only the new dog. I am willing to buy them a new dog and give them additional money on top of that. Do I have any recourse here?

Did they pay you for the dog?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, I wasn't selling the dog and the person acknowledged that; but the person taking the dog gave me a check for $500 saying it was for all the dog supplies, crate etc. that I was giving to them. I have not cashed the check.

Hi Kathleen,

Thank you for your additional information.

Although you did not sign anything, the buyer can argue that there was a verbal agreement of sale and that she performed her obligation under the Agreement by paying you $500. You could, on the other hand, argue that this was only a "trial period" to determine if your daughter would do well without the dog around her. So, if you took it to Court, the case could go either way. It is good that you did not cash the check and you could argue that is the reason that you did not cash the check.

Hopefully, it will not get to that point; but at least you have a convincing argument should the need arise. So do not cash the check. Try to reason with the buyer and tell them that your daughter has suffered a major setback because of no longer having the dog and that you are willing to buy her a similar dog. In other words, do everything that you stated you are willing to do to make it right with the buyer.

One thing to remember, although the Courts should be a last resort, you should file a lawsuit against the buyer as soon as you see that she will not change her mind so that she does not have the opportunity to say that she "has become attached to the dog".

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Prior to giving her the dog, I had asked if it was OK that I send the dog to boarding for a few days to see how my daughter would do. She told me she would not want that for the dog, so I didn't do it. I had no idea how attached my daughter was to the dog, until the dog left. Is it a good idea for her psychologist to call her about my daughter's situation now - there is another psychologist at a well known psychiatric hospital in Boston who could also possibly call her on my daughter's behalf. Or would this be interpreted as harassment? She did verbally agree to let my daughter see the dog occasionally, and I guess she could back out on that now. I think that seeing the dog regularly may only break my daughter's heart even more, but I wouldn't want to lose that option. My daughter is in a serious mentally fragile state right now, her psychologist could testify to. However, I did not honestly agree to a test period for the dog. I wish I would have done that - I wanted to do that on my own before she got the dog (by boarding the dog), but she didn't want me to.......

I do not know if it is a good idea or a bad idea to have the psychologist speak to the buyer because it would be like an admission that you sold the dog outright. I realize that you did not intend a "trial period", but was just trying to find an argument that you could make. I would try to get the dog back first without involving the psychologist, but you have dealt with the buyer and certainly know her better than I do. You could also argue that you wanted to board the dog for a trial period, but she took the dog, knowing that it would be for a trial period.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't think I have a court case, because she honestly didn't take the dog on a trial basis, even though she knew my reservations on how my daughter would take it. She kept on minimizing my daughter's dismay on the night before the dog left, saying she would be alright to me over the phone. I don't think she will believe me about my daughter's severity of distress but might believe it from a psychologist calling. Do you suggest the psychologist call her out of the blue or that I ask her permission for the psychologist to call?


You do not need her permission to have the psychologist call her, but it would be a good idea if you called and spoke to her first; then during your telephone conversation you can tell her that you will have the psychologist call her to explain exactly what your daughter is going through. That way, the psychologist will not be giving her a "cold call".

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I guess that a written signing of release of dog to her is not necessary in transferring ownership of a dog. I got a written signing when I first got the dog.

An agreement to do an act can be confirmed orally or in writing. A writing is not necessary -- but a writing prevents parties from having a dispute about the terms and conditions of their agreement. Obviously, if you had a writing for your transaction, you would not be wondering about whether or not you could recover the pet.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 39010
Experience: Retired (mostly)
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