Holden, ME asked in Animal / Dog Law for Florida

Q: My boyfriend and I were given a dog by a family who could no longer care for it. After about 8 months of having the dog,

we broke up. I took the dog when I left our apartment because I didn't feel that he would care for the dog properly (he often left for 2 or three days at a time to go drinking with his buddies - hence the reason we broke up). I left the state for a couple months and stayed with my parents while working from home. I am returning to Florida in about 10 days and he has threatened to come take the dog or to involve the police.

My concern is that he had the dog certified as an ESA (for PTSD). He paid for it online and is not diagnosed with PTSD. The whole thing was just so he could travel with us. But now I am concerned that with this false paperwork, he could actually "prove the dog is his". I am willing to allow him to see the dog but I honestly don't think he will care for the dog if he were to get ownership of him. He is also verbally abuse and I am concerned that he will become physically abusive if I refuse to let him take the dog.

What are my rights? How should I proceed?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Denver, CO

A: If you're not living with him, he can't abuse you any more. If he shows up on your property or space, call the police immediately and do not let him enter! If you're afraid the dog will be abused in his possession, keep the dog and stay away from this guy. You can block his calls/texts if he is harassing you, and/or you can report his repeated unwanted communication to the police. I would recommend reporting him before he reports you, because police tend to believe whoever called first. Let the cops know about the harassment.

Terrence H Thorgaard agrees with this answer

Terrence H Thorgaard
Terrence H Thorgaard
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I was going to make a similar response but Ms. Bergsten beat me to it. In particular, I second the "reporting him before he reports you" advice; the idea is that if you have filled them in beforehand, they will be prepared for when and if he calls them.

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