Seattle, WA asked in Animal / Dog Law for California

Q: Boyfriend and I broke up. He bought the dog. I took him to vets, grooming, microchip in my name etc. can I take the dog?

I feel that the dog is not being properly taken care of since I moved out. My ex is mostly working out of town and for possible moths on end he isn’t even home. Leaving the dog to the roommate who doesn’t really even like dogs. He’s put in a garage all day and food thrown in is bowl and that’s it. He’s a large dog that needs exercise, socialization and frequent grooming. I did all that while I was there. He’s behind in vaccines and flea medicine as I’m not there to take care of it. I have moved out of state after the breakup and it kills me every day thinking about my sweet baby not getting the life he deserves. I have 20 acres for him to run around and spend time with him. The well being and quality of life would be way better in my care. All the documentation of care is in my name. The only thing he has is that he was the one who purchased the dog. What can I do?

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

A: It’s your boyfriend’s dog no matter what you paid for or that you think you’d be a better owner. The best you could do is offer to buy the dog from him, possibly try to get leverage by pointing out what you spent and the care you gave, but those expenditures/services would likely be found to be gratuitous if you actually took him to court over it. Courts typically don’t care about what’s best for the pet; it’s all about who bought it.

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