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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 30365
Experience:  Lawyer
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My ex will not give my service dog back, tx, no the police

Customer Question

my ex will not give my service dog back
JA: What state are you in? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: tx
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: no the police says go to court
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

The recourse here unfortunately is to go to court. In order to get the dog back, you have to be able to prove to the judge that the dog belongs to you. Bringing paperwork showing that the dog is a trained service animal should help. You may also need medical records from your doctor to prove to the judge that you need the dog.

Small Claims Court judges unfortunately cannot order the return of property. You could sue for the cost of getting another service animal and see if he chooses to return the dog instead of paying you. (And you could also seek punitive damages, because stealing someone's service animal is incredibly low.) But if you would prefer to get the dog back, there are a couple of things you could try:

  • Send a letter, via certified mail, giving him one opportunity to return the dog or you will sue for the full cost of the dog and punitive damages, up to $10,000. (That's the small claims court maximum.) If you cannot get to a post office, it's possible to send email, but typically people pay more attention to a letter sent via certified mail.
  • Have a local attorney send the letter. Again, that's more likely to make him sit up and pay attention. It may help to see if you have any disability rights organizations in your area that could help you for a reduced price.
  • File a lawsuit in the district court for Conversion, seeking the return of your property. You'd draft the Complaint yourself, unless you're able to find a local attorney yourself. Websites like www.legalzoom.com or www.uslegalforms.com may be able to help.

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