Austin, TX asked in Animal / Dog Law for Texas

Q: How can I show proof of ownership of a dog that I was gifted due to it being abused/neglected?

I work at my apartment building. There was a tenant who, since the day they moved in, had not paid rent or anything (august-October). Not sure how they were able to move-in in the first place. My managers filed for eviction. They went into his apartment and room to hand him the paperwork. They found a puppy being abused and neglected. She had feces all over her, all over the bedroom, and the roommates testified that one time the man left for 3 days and the dog stayed in the cage with no food, water, and couldn’t get out. She also looked like her neck and ear was bitten. The management took her since they saw abuse and she is a husky mix which is not allowed. My manager said I could keep her because she was not giving it back. Now this man (who used a false name) has contacted corporate to give her back. I have registered her as my support animal and to my apartment building. They are asking me to give her up despite them being the ones who gave her to me and they took her away from him

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

A: If the dog belonged to the tenant, only the tenant had legal authority to give the dog away. Your manager had no legal right to tell you that you could keep the dog because the dog did not belong to your manager.

Your better argument is that the tenant abandoned the dog. If the tenant owned the dog but then abandoned the dog, the dog may now belong to you because you took control of the dog.

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