Nashville, TN asked in Adoption and Animal / Dog Law for Tennessee

Q: Can I legally own a dog if someone else’s name is on a vet record?

Around the end of May, my boyfriend’s sister brought a dog to live with us. We said the dog could stay for 2-3 days, but she told us it would be until she moves out without even asking us. She has only paid for 1 vet visit (that I paid part of) and the very beginning essentials. Since then, she has not done anything for the dog. We started keeping track of how often she saw the dog and in the month of June she saw her for 5 ish hours. The whole month. We pay for the dog food, toys, leashes, harnesses, leads, treats, and anything the dog might need. Basically, we care for her like she is ours. The owner has never called or texted to see how she is doing, but has told us that she is planning to move out soon and is taking the dog, who she barely understands or knows how to deal with or care for. We haven’t spoken to her yet, but we are close with her and know she won’t just give the dog to us. We want to own the dog, but her name is listed as the owner on a vet record. HELP!

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Denver, CO

A: Vet records usually are not considered ownership documents in and of themselves. Purchase or adoption paperwork are #1; microchip or registration records are usually #2; then vet records at looked at. So, it's hard to answer your question. That said, since you know she is the original owner, it's hard for me to say you have a claim. I would recommend offering to the buy the dog from her and if she agrees, get the transfer of ownership in WRITING.

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