Q: What is the process for ownership of a pet bought for my daughter from a 3rd party that my ex will not let her have?
My ex- husband and I have separately and together at differing times taken care of a pet dog that was originally bought for my daughter by a friend of mine. I no longer have the receipt (although my friend might have copy of check) and pedigree forms that came with the dog when purchased. I have veterinary records andvcounty registration for the first 5 years (dog is 8) in my name. The dog lived with my daughter and Dad from Sept 2017 to Sept 2019. My daughter returned to living with me and her Dad allowed the dog to come for visits but would not let her keep permanently. Now he will not let the dog come at all and my daughter would like her dog back. Her Dad has not taken her to a vet since 2017 and often does not have food, she has been injured with no explanation. Can I take him to small claims court to attempt to gain ownership of the dog?
Yes, you can take him to small claims court. You want to allege Conversion of Property. Bring your records, try to find a copy of the check, and see if you can find any communications from him which support that the dog was purchased for or a gift for your daughter. You may want to bring it in both your and your daughter's name, but check with her first. She may not want to be listed as a party in a lawsuit against her father.
Make it clear in your complaint that you want the dog returned (specific performance/injunctive relief) and not money damages.
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