Houston, TX asked in Animal / Dog Law for Texas

Q: I have been caring and boarding two big dogs for over a year, the owner has only visited once. He is now refusing

To pay for the boarding fees, food costs. Do i have to surrender the poor dogs that he cant afford to feed? Can i claim ownership now that they are abandoned? There's been no communication for 3 months. What is the holding period in Texas?

Am i allowed to refuse to return his dogs until unpaid balances are paid?

Can I surrender them to a rescue group?

The owner has no actual physical address, as he owns a telecommunications company and is always moving from one city to another anywhere from 2-3 days at a time to a coupleweeks at most.

There also has been little communication.

I don't want to surrender these dogs because well, we have grown to love them very much, and it would just break my heart if they were forced back to a life inside a vehicle.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Teri A. Walter
Teri A. Walter
  • Houston, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: They aren't legally just "abandoned," but under Texas Property Code Section 70.003, you have a lien on the dogs for the amount of the charges for their care, and can hold them until the charges are paid. To be able to sell them, you must comply with Section 70.005, and give notice and demand that the owner pay the charges, then if they're not paid before the 11th day after the request, they can be sold at a public sale with 20 days' notice. I suggest you send any notices by both first class mail and certified mail.

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