San Antonio, TX asked in Animal / Dog Law, Domestic Violence and Small Claims for Texas

Q: How can I obtain legal ownership of dogs shared with an ex-boyfriend who is withholding them to coerce me to stay?

In order to leave an emotionally abusive relationship, I had to leave without my dogs. The dogs were abandoned in our care by his sister 3 years ago. She told my ex that we could keep them or give them to her dad, who is disabled & unable to care for pets. Giving the dogs to the dad would result in their neglect, so I took responsibility for them & cared for them (including financially). Recently, I left the relationship because it was getting progressively more violent. He never hit me hard, but it was to the point that he would threaten to physically harm me & would physically prevent me from leaving. Since then, he has withheld the dogs from me & has been using them to try to coerce me back into the relationship. I don't think he would intentionally harm the dogs, but I worry about neglect due to his alcohol problem. I want to know how to gain legal ownership of my dogs. Bank statements, receipts, medical records, microchip, and county registration are in my name and paid by me.

1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: Since the dogs were given to you both, you own them as tenants in common.

You can petition a court to partition them in kind or to have them sold and divide the proceeds equally between the two of you.

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