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California Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Civil Rights for California on
Q: What do I do if someone refuses to give my dog back to me because they want to keep it yet i never signed it over?

I adopted this dog from a local breeder and signed a document proving that he is now mine. I had him at my house for about 2 weeks and my dad got mad because he kept him up one night and my dad was already getting bad sleep he made a rash choice and told me to get the dog out for the night. I found... Read more »

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 2, 2020

If the cops won’t help you get your dog back, then you’ll have to sue in replevin one your local courthouse. I would recommend talking to an attorney in your area to help you with filing the lawsuit.

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Ex purchased the dog, but I am the owner. Can he take the dog away from me or get shared custody?
Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 1, 2020

It usually depends on whose name is on the purchase/adoption contract. If you both appear, you might have a claim to the dog. If you don't both appear, then you likely have no claim. Most courts don't recognize shared custody. But if you had an agreement to share the dog after the breakup... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: My ex paid for the dog and some vet bills. I am the legal owner on paper and dog lives with me. Can he take the dog?

N/A

Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten answered on Jul 1, 2020

Most likely, no, he can not take the dog away from you. Dogs are property, not children, so he has no right to the dog, even if he paid bills, etc. If you're the owner listed on the adoption/purchase paperwork, and not him (jointly or individually), then he would not win against you in court.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Can my roommate shoot my dog for chasing their house cats? (They claim an officer told them "yes").

I have two small dogs. Ocassionally, if a cat takes off running thru the house, my smallest dog will chase. He stops immediately when I say "no". When cat isn't running, he licks instead of chasing. They have a large breed dog who chases their cats constantly. So, it isn't an... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jun 27, 2020

If only Republicans and Democrats could get along as well as dogs and cats, we could be happier. No, your roommate cannot legally "shoot" your dog for chasing your cat because discharging a firearm is a crime. I doubt that any "officer" told him it was OK. Of course, people... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: worked on a ranch raised a puppy when I left they said I could take her when trying to get chip info changed they say

They said she was my dog and let me take her when I called her vet to find out about shots I asked about getting chip information changed they called me old boss and refused to let them change it

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jun 26, 2020

This is really not a legal question. The dog was a gift and now the donor will not assist you in getting the chip information changed. Perhaps you should take the dog back to them and tell them it is theirs and they can pay for it now, give them a bill for all the food and care expenses. Have a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Products Liability and Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Neighbor cats poo in my yard and they’ve poo so much on my brand new carpet on my porch it is destroy. What legal actio
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jun 19, 2020

Very sorry about this situation. I am a cat owner and I can tell you they are pretty independent creatures and won't listen to or obey anything they are told. The probability of getting them to stop is pretty small, even if you speak CAT. However, this does not mean that you are required to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Do i have grounds to sue my neighbor for stealing my dog?

my dog likes to explore and a couple times has gotten away. a nearby neighbor found him one time and returned him. a year later, this last February, he dug his way through the backyard fences and got out. Said neighbor went to go pick up my dog claiming he was hers. after i found out it was her, we... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jun 19, 2020

You may have "grounds" for suing your neighbor over stealing your dog, but you may have problems with proving that she stole the dog under the facts you posted. Since you admit the dog got out itself, how do you expect to prove that the neighbor has the dog when the Police could not find... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: My dog has gotten out a couple times. A neighbor went and picked him up stating he was theirs and took him. When I went

To get my dog back the police stated the neighbor admitted to taking my dog bc she felt i was irresponsible but she stated the dog broke out of her house too. My dog is still missing and I believe she still has him. Can I sue her in small claims court?

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jun 19, 2020

Yes, but in Small Claims the point is usually money. The jurisdiction to issue Orders to return the dog (injunctions) is coupled with awarding damages (money). A wise Texas judge said: "You can sue a ham sandwich." The question is not whether you can file a suit, but whether you can... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Is it illegal to lie to an animal control officer about where a stray was found, therefore it would be taken in

Manteca Ca

William John Light
William John Light answered on Jun 19, 2020

Intentionally providing false information to a law enforcement officer is illegal.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Neighbors stole our emotional support pet

We left our emotional support dog on our apartment patio for a single night while we were in the process of moving. When we came back to pick her up in the morning she was gone. There was a note on the door that the neighbors took her. They hopped on our 2nd floor private patio (that is not visible... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jun 15, 2020

Your dog is property, the same as a table, car or Fridge. If someone stole your car, what would you do? You would go to the police and file a report and ask for police assistance to recover your stolen property. You can also file a small claims action to recover damages from stealing your dog... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Civil Litigation for California on
Q: My sister in law asked me to "hold" her dog

She couldnt have it in her apartment so i did but couldnt do it anymore. i contacted her for days but i got no responce. I gave the dog to a loving family that could keep it perminately. Now she wants it back. I dont want the dog going from home to home. she's now telling me she will call the... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jun 8, 2020

This question is really missing some information. Did you ask sister to get dog because you could not keep it? How long did you give her to get it? Did you tell her you were going to give it to someone else? Why didn't you just give it to the pound as an abandoned dog? (because you did not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: My neighbor leaves his 1 year old dog outside 24/7 through extreme heat and cold with no shelter

He's lucky to even get food and water for the day. He used to tie him up which i reported but my local animal control organization doesn't seem to care about the welfare of animals. Ive seen this man be brutal to this dog but otherwise just constantly neglects it. What can I do to save... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on Jun 5, 2020

Call Animal Control again.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Can I legally take back my stolen dog in California?

My ex decided to abandon our apartment lease in St. Petersburg, Florida , steal my dog and move to California without notifying anyone. My dog is In my name microchip, vet records, boarding, grooming, etc. Florida won’t allow me to file a police report. If I go to California sheriffs department... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on May 18, 2020

Law enforcement probably won't get involved as dog ownership is frequently hazy. Vet records, chip registration, are indicia of ownership, but s/he will probably be able to point to other indicia that suggest perhaps joint ownership.

You can sue in Small Claims court for return of...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: How and where do I file to get my stolen dog back from my ex wife

My ex wife and I went through a separation and during this time I was promised my dog. I had her sign a document claiming she would return the dog to me but recently has abruptly cut off all communication with me. I asked via letters and text over 35 times to retrieve my dog with no response. I... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on May 13, 2020

You cue her in Small Claims court for return of the dog or for its fair market value. You can also request damages for "loss of use". Loss of use is calculated by referencing the rental value of

similar property which the plaintiff can hire for use during the period when he is...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Small Claims for California on
Q: If a dog is in someone else’s backyard and not being taken care of, can I take pictures of it to show animal control

Please if I could get an answer quick. It’s important to me.

William John Light
William John Light answered on May 11, 2020

Depends on whether you can see the backyard. If the public can view it, or you can view it from your property, you can take a picture.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: I found a dog it wasn’t chipped I couldn’t keep it I looked for hours on social media so I gave away can I be arrested

Because of covid the spca is not accepting strays

William John Light
William John Light answered on May 8, 2020

You are not allowed to give somebody's property to another person. The Bradshaw Center's website contains the following:

"I LOST MY PET / FOUND A STRAY PET:

Although it’s not ideal or popular, at this time we’re asking the public to leave found animals in place,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Bred my male husky with my sisters female husky. Had a litter of 9 and now does not want to give me any. What can I do?

The agreement was that how ever many puppies were born, they would be split 50/50. If there was an odd number, she would get the extra one. In this case i would get 4 and she would get 5. The pups have just turned 6 weeks and she now does not want to give me any of the pups. Since they were born I... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on May 8, 2020

Ordinarily, you aren't entitled to any pups. The owner of the female gets them all. However, if you had an agreement, even verbal, it is enforceable. You can sue in Small Claims court to enforce the agreement, or for the monetary value of the 4 pups. If you have text messages or emails,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Landlord - Tenant for California on
Q: In California, do ADA regulations supersede California law regarding service animals?

ADA documentation states that landlords/staff may not require proof, nor documentation, nor ask any other question than "is this a service animal?" and "what does this animal do?". Any question beyond that is a violation passable of fines (ADA website). California law seems to... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on Apr 28, 2020

California's laws allowing you to request a letter from a doctor applies mainly to emotional support animals, which are not covered by the ADA. Emotional support animals aren't trained to do anything. They just make the person feel better.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: My mom kicked me out of the house but she kept my dog. How do I get my dog back legally?

My mom kicked me out of her place, she just gathered up all my stuff and dumped it on the porch of a nearby relative. However she kept my dog? How legal is this especially during this pandemic? How do I get my dog back legally? Shes a rescue dog and I dont think she has a chip with any of our names... Read more »

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow answered on Apr 26, 2020

more info needed.

did you rescue her in your name? if so you can file in small claims...however, courts are closed right now.

i think the more important question is would you take the dog when you are not stable.

i assume you want the dog b/c you Luv the pup? If so why would...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: I would like to adopt the dog I’ve been caring for from her owners whose memory is declining. Seek legal advice on this?

I am living with an 80 year old couple and their 6 year old dog for the last two years. I have noticed their memory and health is declining. I would like to adopt their dog when I move out but I don’t know if they will allow me to have the dog. Their judgement isn’t impaired. Do I have any... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on Apr 26, 2020

No.

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