Q: Can I legally obtain my dog from my father if I can begin paying for my dogs insurance and register him under my name?
I am moving out of my fathers house soon and he has always told me to take my dog with me when I leave. We have not been on good terms lately and now says he will call the police on me if I take my dog. Since I was a child when I bought my dog and am 18 now, he has paid for all of my dogs vet bills and insurance. He recently registered him (under his name of course), but continues to tell me that this dog is mine. I am willing to pay money for my dog, and can pay for insurance and anything else my dog will need food, vet bills, etc. My father is making it as difficult as possible, but since I have witnesses that can say he has called him my dog for the entire time I have owned him, and can pay for my dog, I am just wondering if I have a legal stance.
A: If you were to take the dog, you could claim the dog is a gift, as he told you the dog was yours and you have a witness. Since he is your father, there is a stronger presumption that the dog is a gift. However, since your father registered that dog in his name, this could be evidence that he did not give you the dog as a gift. However, he likely registered the dog in his name, as I presume you were a minor child at the time he registered the dog. In my view there is a slim chance you would be charged with a crime if you were to take your dog. If you were charged with a crime, you would have a reasonable defense. I could be wrong, but I cannot imagine a jury would be willing to convict a girl for taking her childhood dog, which she understood to be a gift.
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