Asked in Animal / Dog Law for North Carolina

Q: I gave my dog away now I want him back, and she don't want to give him back. I didn't sign any document. Can you help?

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1 Lawyer Answer
N'kia (NLN)
N'kia (NLN)
  • Cary, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: Giving your dog to someone else is typically considered a "gift." In North Carolina, most gifts are considered "irrevocable." (In other words, the giver can't just take back a gift once given).

An exception to this general rule is when a gift comes with "conditions." A condition would be something like "If I move into a bigger place within the next 3 months, I can get the dog back." But outside of an exception, the recipient of an unconditional/irrevocable gift usually has the right to decide what to do with it, including whether to keep it, return it to the previous owner, or give or sell it to someone else.

Also, the parties don't usually have to sign any type of document to make something a gift.

You may consider consulting with an attorney who handles property law generally (because North Carolina considers pets to be "personal property") or one who handles animal/pet/dog law specifically. They should be able to offer advice that is specific to your particular situation, rather than general rules that may or may not apply to you.

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