Bronx, NY asked in Animal / Dog Law for New York

Q: I let a friend hold my dog I want her back but he refuses to give her back to me he got a microchip without my consent

I let him hold my dog while I was having family issues now he refuses to let me see her or get her, I have a notarized letter from the person I bought the dog from is it worth going to court to get her back? Or would I be wasting my time , I have a order protection against the friend due to a fight we had but I have proof I bought the dog and he got a microchip on my dog without my consent or knowledge, what can I do about this ?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: If he is refusing to give you back the dog you can bring a civil action to get it back or to recover the out of pocket expenses you incurred. However, it is best to retain an attorney and expect it to cost a minimum of few thousand dollars in legal fees and court costs. I am handling a matter now with similar facts to yours.

Charles Oliver Wolff
Charles Oliver Wolff
  • Trumansburg, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Although we consider them family members, New York law considers them property, so your friend has stolen property from you and that is a criminal offense. Try calling the police. If I were still living in the City I'd walk over to my local precinct and do it there where you are sure to receive attention, otherwise you might have a long wait.

I have dealt with these matters as well, and I do know that the cost of an attorney in the City is higher than it is up here in the Finger Lakes area, but I'm quite sure you can find a lawyer to handle this for a few hundred dollars if you elect to pursue this as a civil matter. But first, before wasting time and money. report it as a criminal theft which will cost you nothing, and let the police do their job. It would be easy for them because you have proof of ownership, you know where your "property" is, you know who took it and refuses to return it, and you know where the accused person is. It is quite likely that one visit from the police would result in the return of your dog. Be sure you also receive the microchip identity info and contact the registrar for the company that holds the ID, if any, so you can report change of ownership. You might need to arrange for your "friend" to do that, so be sure to inform the police about it and they will make it a part of any deal for restitution. It is very likely that charges, if any, will be dismissed if your "friend" cooperates, the courts have better things to do. Then I'd go shopping for better friends, friends don't steal from each other.

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