Los Angeles, CA asked in Animal / Dog Law for California

Q: Adopted a dog from someone moving out of country. Have had it for about half of it’s life.

Adopted my dog after a couple’s nasty break up. Not sure of the specifics, but it seems the ex surrendered the dog to the gentleman I orchestrated the adoption with when they split. His ex has found me and is now demanding for his dog back. I’m not sure of the specifics of the agreement when the ex allowed for the dog to be in the sole custody of the person that I adopted from. If this is the case however, and the previous owner did have sole custody/ownership, can the ex take my dog away? Or do I have any rights? The couple have no contact whatsoever (assuming a restraining order was placed on the ex) so I don’t think the couple had any intention to revisit ownership issues...

If it helps, the dog was gifted by the ex to the person I adopted from.

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1 Lawyer Answer

William John Light

  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: If the ex gave the dog away, then the person to whom he gave it was the owner, until you adopted it from him. You would then be a lawful owner. The ex can still call the police. He can still sue you in Small Claims. He would have to establish that he did not give the dog away.

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