South Bend, IN asked in Animal / Dog Law and Contracts for Michigan

Q: I have a written agreement that made a number of animals mine after a certain date. I rehomed them, can I be sued?

I housed a large number of exotic animals in an emergency situation. They were reptiles and insects, mostly snakes. The written agreement had a specific time frame for the animals and after that time the animals became mine. Since the animals were in poor condition (mites, respiratory illnesses, and filthy enclosures) when I received them, once the date on the agreement passed I rehomed a significant portion of these animals. The original owner is now threatening legal action. Is there any reason to believe these animals weren’t legally mine after the agreed upon date?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers
  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Licensed in Michigan

A: Certainly, a lawyer would need to review the actual written agreement, but if it says, as you're indicating here, "I agree to care for the animals for this period of time, and if you don't come get them before that time ends, they are mine", then I think you are on solid legal ground to rehome the animals.

I don't think it matters they were in poor condition. That's a condition you accepted when entering the agreement. What matters is what was to happen when the agreement ended.

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