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I need legal advice on pet custody. My step-mother is the…

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I need legal advice on...
I need legal advice on pet custody. My step-mother is the one who purchased the dog, but doesn't take care of it. We currently live together and when I move out I wanna take the dog with me, but she said she won't let me. I pay for his insurance, I take him to the vet, pay for his food and toys, take him to the park, socialize him with other dogs and people, and take him outside to use the bathroom. I work a set schedule from 6-2 and my step-mom works at a hospital where she is essential personal and doesn't have a set shift and sometime may have to work 12 hour days back to back. My little brother and sister don't treat the dog right and my step mom doesn't correct the bad behavior. I've already started saving receipts from food, toys, and medical bills that I pay for. I want to know what I need to do to gain his custody. I was going to offer her $1000 for him, because she only payed $350 for him in cash with the paper receipt I have and she doesn't. I want to know what I need to do if she doesn't accept the money agreement?
Submitted: 2 years ago.Category: Legal
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1/27/2016
Lawyer: Law Educator, Esq., Attorney replied 2 years ago
Law Educator, Esq.
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 124,229
Experience: JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Unfortunately, under MD law, a dog is considered property no different than a car or a piece of furniture. This means that the owner of the pet is entitled to keep the pet, even though you may take care of the pet. If she refuses to allow you to take him and she is the legal owner, you cannot stop her from keeping him. If you have receipts for the payments for HER dog's care, you can sue her for reimbursement of the money and if she does not pay the money back you can ask the court to award you the dog in lieu of the money, but that is your only option if she refuses to negotiate with you to allow you to buy the dog from her.
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