Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee

Q: Who has legal ownership of dog living in home with no electricity and owner been in jail since Jan 18?

I live in Sweetwater, TN and have become aware of a dog, Mia, living in a house in Sweetwater with no electricity. Mia's owner has been in jail since Jan. 18 and a family member is feeding her and taking her out to potty twice a day. Upon her owner going to jail, the police told the family member that the owner was worried about his dog and the family member told the police the dog would be alright. The family member has made attempts to contact the owner and visit him in jail to discuss signing Mia over to her with no success. Who is now the legal owner of the dog.. The owner who is in jail or the family member?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Paul E. Tennison
Paul E. Tennison
  • Brentwood, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Based on the facts as you describe them, the owner who is in jail still owns the dog. The family member seems to be taking care of the dog on a volunteer basis. The family member may be able to argue the owner abandoned the dog, if that argument is successful then the family member would be the owner. Good luck.

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