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

Q: My boyfriend died and I have his dog. His parents are asking for her to be taken to them claiming it's what their son

Would have wanted. But actually, their son asked me to keep her if anything happened. Ive been taking care of her every day for months but since we arent married, no one cares about what he wanted, they are acting as if our everyday life together wasn't permanent and so I have no say in where the dog goes. I want to honor my boyfriend, how can I do that legally?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Benjamin Z. Katz
Benjamin Z. Katz
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Companion animals are generally considered property under the law. As the case would be with any type of property owned by an individual, once the owner passes away, it is transferred by Will or through the laws of intestacy. Assuming there was no Will and there is no spouse or children, the parents would be next in line. However, you may still have a basis to claim ownership. Although the law generally treats companion animals as property, the recent trend in case law has been to determine best interests. This is a very fact-specific standard. You should speak with an attorney to determine whether all the facts, taken together, support your claim to the dog. If it does, litigation may be necessary to recognize that claim.

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