Salt Lake City, UT asked in Animal / Dog Law for Utah

Q: Can I legally take someone else's puppies to the pound if they don't pick them up when they said they would?

I volunteered to watch 2 puppies for 2 weeks (ending June 24). For free. She then moved to California the next day. After her verbally attacking me, I told her I would take them to the pound if she didn't have someone come get them at the 2 weeks mark. She said i don't have her permission to do that and that I have to watch them until she finds someone else to take them. She has a lot of mental problems, has told me I'm mistreating her dogs, implied I'm a liar (when I have proof that she is), and threatened to have people show up at my house to "take care of the situation". She said she wasn't comfortable leaving them with me, then said that she was comfortable with leaving them with me, she contradicts herself constantly, told me her friend was coming yesterday to get them and then said she never said that (even though I sent her a screenshot of the text). Am I legally allowed to take the dogs to the shelter at the 2 week mark? She can't force me to keep watching them right?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II

A: You should be very happy that the puppies stayed with you and she moved to California, instead of Vice-Versa. The issue is: "Has she abandoned the property? (dogs are property)" I would suggest that you call your local animal shelter to find out what the rules are with respect to handling abandoned animals. You might also get some answers from your local PD. It is almost the same as if she had just abandoned them on an empty lot or in an alley. This is not a transfer of ownership to you. The second issue is notice to her of your intent and what actually happens to the puppies. You need to provide her with written notice and keep a copy or some other way to show that you sent it and it was received.

It sounds like you have given her lots of verbal notice, but you need to safeguard yourself by having proof that you gave notice, and verbal notice has very weak proof.

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