Beloit, WI asked in Animal / Dog Law for Wisconsin

Q: My puppy was taken from the vet by the person I bought him from and she won't give him back.

I bought him w/o signing a breeders contract. I took him to an emergency vet. He had a bowel obstruction. They wanted too much money. The person I got him from volunteered to take him to her vet for care and I could pay her on Friday. She said he was having surgery. Didn't happen he wasn't even there overnight. He passed the obstruction and is on meds to heal his stomach and intestines. She says I neglected him and she is exercising her "breeder rights" and taking him back. She still has him. Her vet lied to us by not saying she had him because they said we would have to get her permission for them to release him. She put him under her name at the vet. They knew he was no longer there. Please help!

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1 Lawyer Answer

Emmanuel Muwonge

Answered
  • Wauwatosa, WI
  • Licensed in Wisconsin

A: It is not clear to me where your issues stem from as there are several individuals you have been transacting business with. What is clear to me is that you do not have paperwork suggesting or documenting that you actually own the animal. As such, the veterinarian is going by what the apparent owner tells him or her. It also appears that the prior owner took the animal to the vet I assume knows the animal's history since that is the vet the prior owner elected to take the animal to ostensibly on account of your unwillingness to pay for the services at the vet's where the animal had been. As such, the vet that has actual custody of the animal is not going to release that animal to someone who the vet does not acknowledge to be the owner of the animal. In your case, the vet is going to release the animal to the individual who brought the animal for treatment. Whether the vet lied or didn't lie is inconsequential in my opinion. What you need to deal with is to regularize the ownership paperwork to avoid these types of situations. Apparently, the individual you purchased the animal from has current custody and, if you did not document the initial transaction where you, I assume, paid for the animal and took possession, you may very well be at their mercy. Bottom line is, please try your best to work with the prior owner who it appears has possession of the animal and, is probably inclined to claim ownership of the animal. Based upon the limited information, I am unable to offer any further comments regarding your situation. If all fails, please consult a local attorney who practices in Small Claims Court in your jurisdiction unless of course, the animal has a value above $10,000.00.

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