Riverside, CA asked in Animal / Dog Law for California

Q: Can an animal shelter put down a chipped dog when the owner has been in contact?

My poor baby was taken to the animal shelter while I was away by an ex bf as he was watching her. He had no right to do that. She wasn't abandoned he was mad at me and took her to hurt me. She was chipped. They called my ex husband and never called me. My chip company never emailed me either as they have before when she got out in the past. I made contact immediately when I found out even before my ex husband told me of the call. I told them I could be there Saturday it was a couple days out. Once Saturday came i couldn't make it as I was out of the area. I called and called and called. Left message after message. Left them directly on the directors vm, left them with after hours service and specifically asked to get the message to the front desk. I was beyond persistent. I never got an answer to a call I never received a call back. I would say I left at least 10 messages in a 10 day period. On day 10 they put her down. A pedigree lab sweet as pie. How can they do this?

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: I am a dog owner and can only imagine the heartache you're feeling about this. I'm so sorry.

First, I recommend that you chat with a CA attorney. Most states classify dogs as property. Typically someone in your situation won't have many remedies. That said, CA may be different so I'd suggest making a few calls to local attorneys. You also might do some internet searching about CA laws regarding injuries to pets.

Unfortunately I encountered a similar situation for a client in Utah. There aren't many options for owners that lose dogs related to negligence of other individuals or companies. Typically the owner will only be entitled to the value of the animal but not general damages for things like pain and suffering related to the loss of the animal.

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