Mesa, AZ asked in Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for Arizona

Q: Is it actually unlawful to take someone's dog home with you when you pick them up off the streets? I live in Arizona

Long story short I found a puppy wandering around a neighborhood no collar, I took it to get scanned but no chip. I basically hung out with this dog all day and eventually ended up talking to some neighbors. One of the neighbors told me they think the dog lives at the Corner House. So I ended up walking with the dog over to that house and knocked on the door twice actually and got no answer . I'm assuming they weren't home . Another neighbor happened to see me walking by with the dog and as are you looking for the home of that dog and I said yeah he pointed to the house directly behind me, which was the house I just knocked on the door at. I could clearly see the back gate was wide open. When I left there the puppy followed me and got back into my car. I know Arizona I think an animal is considered property but is this really considered stealing their property? When technically their property is roaming free and jumped into my car willingly?

1 Lawyer Answer
Christopher Millar
Christopher Millar
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Gilbert, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: Hello,

Arizona Theft requires "intent to deprive" a person of the property. Here, you did not commit theft because you were attempting to locate the owner to give them their property back. I believe you've done a good deed that would not be considered "theft." I suggest attempting to return the dog when the homeowners return to their residence. You can also contact the police and report the missing dog if the owners are not available. I hope this helps!

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