Indianapolis, IN asked in Animal / Dog Law for Indiana

Q: Rescued a dog w/out tags or a microchip. What documents can I request from someone claiming it's theirs to prove owners

Dog was found in an alley last night. Dog was posted to various social media sites and someone is claiming it is theirs. We have other information that makes their claim seem illegitimate. I want to make sure this dog goes to either the rightful owner or stays in my possession until I am legally allowed to re-home the pet (I believe 7 days). Pictures of a dog don't, to me, seem sufficient. Is it reasonable to require vet records, city/state registration or adoption/sale receipts to prove ownership?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Alexander Florian Steciuch
Alexander Florian Steciuch
  • Valparaiso, IN
  • Licensed in Indiana

A: It's not unreasonable to request records of ownership, like vet records or vaccination schedules, from an owner when you have found a lost dog. Just be aware that if that is indeed the true owner and you're withholding their property, the dog, you could have negative legal consequences if you continue to hold onto the dog against the true owner's wishes. The true owner of the dog will always have the strongest claim to possession of the animal.

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