If it was a gift, there needs to be no actual writing evidencing this. Rather the court will look to the circumstances of the case to determine if it was intended as a gift, and if the recipient interpreted it as such. The idea is the intent of the parties, so if it would appear that jail for long term was in his future, a judge would likely construe it as a gift. (Pets are still considered personal property- things, in essence, something that is difficult to understand in this day and age, so the court won't look to the human or the dog emotions involved). If it was not a gift, then the owner is liable for all the associated costs of caring for the dog, so one can sue for recovery of those funds, and that may serve as a deterrent to the other party.
If a person is on house arrest they can arrest a telephonic appearance which may or may not be granted (typically it is).
So one can write a letter detailing why one considered the pet a gift; and remind the person that if they pursue the issue in court, one will be making a counterclaim for all money expended on the pet.
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.