New Bedford, MA asked in Animal / Dog Law for Massachusetts

Q: If someone sells their dog to someone who is taking great care of him can the seller legally take the dog back?

During the 2.5 months that I have had this dog I have taken him to the vet to be brought up to date on his vaccinations and to be be neutered. He had never been to the vet with the person who sold him.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Joanne Belasco
Joanne Belasco
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: Under Massachusetts law, a dog is considered property. So, as awful as it sounds, think of the sale as you would the sale of something like a car or a boat. Generally speaking, a seller cannot take back property once it is sold. I say generally because each case turns on the facts. If there was fraud involved in the sale, for example, then the seller might be able to sue on that basis for return of the dog. If the dog is not being take care of properly, then the seller, or any individual, can notify authorities and an investigation concerning cruelty or neglect might be initiated, but again, it all turns on the specific facts of the case. I can't advise you about your specific case unless we do a consultation. This is educational information, not legal advice and does not create attorney-client privilege.

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