Asked in Contracts and Animal / Dog Law for Iowa

Q: Iowa rescue shelter is threatening to file a claim for breach of contract. What are my rights?

I adopted a 7 week old puppy that got severely ill within 24 hours of adoption. I took him to my vet who admitted my pup to puppy hospital. I alerted the shelter right away that he was sick and admitted. The shelter said they would do whatever they could to make it right. They offered a settlement of $100 towards a $400 bill. I declined this settlement and now the shelter keeps threatening to take me to court for a breach of contract. Said I would be arrested, spend 14 days in jail, $500 fine and get my dog taken away. The contract states that if a dog is ill within 10 days of adoption alert the shelter AND bring them back for medical care. I live 2 1/2 hours away from the shelter. My vet said they would go on record that my pup would not have lasted the long car ride. What should I expect if the shelter does file?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Stephen Douglas Lombardi
Stephen Douglas Lombardi
  • West Des Moines, IA
  • Licensed in Iowa

A: It is improper and may even be a crime for someone to threaten to have someone put in jail over a disputed civil matter, such as an unpaid bill. In Polk County we refer to that as extortion. The contract you signed is what governs who should pay for what and when.

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