Asked in Contracts and Animal / Dog Law

Q: Anyone know about the legalities of pet ownership in the U.S.?

Long story short, our neighbors like to do drugs and have neglected and abused this pit. They left him running outside by a main road one day and we took him in. We had him for 3 days until they asked about him. They said we could have him since he 'is always in the way'. 2 days later they come back and say they will be back later to take him.

Im in no rush to give this dog back to a bad home. Is there any way at all I can keep him and not be legally in trouble?

I dont think they could or would take us to court over it but better safe than sorry.

We have already spent over $100 on him and have grown quite attached

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1 Lawyer Answer
Juliet Piccone
Juliet Piccone
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Greenwood Village, CO

A: There is a valid question as to whether they gifted the dog to you when they said you could have it. So this is more a gift/ property issue than a contract issue.

There has to be an unequivocal intention to make a gift on their part and delivery and acceptance on your part. This would be the argument I would make for my client in this situation. There is also the element of reliance on your past by having spent money to take care of the dog.

Police rarely get involved in such disputes, would most likely have to file a replevin action in civil court and that’s no easy feat for a pro se party. If sued, the defense is gift and detrimental reliance.

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