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California Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Personal Injury and Wrongful Death for California on
Q: animal control did not follow due process and forced euthanasia on 2 innocent dogs. can i sue animal control?

my dogs were accused of a fatal dog vs dog attack. the 'witness' gave false statements to the officer which resulted in animal control 2 days later coming to my home, taking my dogs and forcing euthanasia. they had no paperwork, no warrant, no evidence. AC would not accompany me to talk with the... Read more »

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow answered on Feb 15, 2020

more info needed.

it sounds like your case is a mess.

you can always sue anyone for anything.

the question is will you recover and HOW MUCH?

you probably will not find a lawyer to accept the case on a contingency.

IF so you will have to pay on an hourly...
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1 Answer | Asked in Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: My dog bit somebody and the the City of commerce came 7 days later to quarantine my dog and it's been 4 months later

Supposably there's been a hearing that was scheduled and never took place this lady told me she was a lawyer and she's going to help me and she said that she sent out a paper stating that if there was no hearing within 24 hours of the paper that was received by them that she said then he needed to... Read more »

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow answered on Feb 14, 2020

more info needed.

i have never dealt with anything like that. i would normally represent the person bitten and injured.

if you are not in a position to afford a lawyer billing you on an hourly, consider contacting city hall and your council member.

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: How do I help ?

If someone comes to me with a malnourished dog how can I get the person who neglected the dog in trouble yet not get his sons dog taken away? The son came to me with 1 of 5 puppies his father had. He found them dead in the back yard and only one alive. I want to call the cops or the humane society... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on Feb 12, 2020

The two thing you want to accomplish are mutually exclusive. The son is likely to witness the death of another puppy, or to experience loss of ownership to Animal Control. You choose.

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Domestic Violence for California on
Q: I left an abusive relationship. I took some of my belongings and the dogs. He keeps telling me to bring his dog back.

I pay vet bills/ buy food, etc. and on all documents at the vet l am listed as owner. Can he call police and force me to give him the dog? She is used as my ESA. I have a note from my doc stating she helps me with my anxiety. He claims l can go back if l get rid of my other dog and give him back... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on Feb 9, 2020

The police likely won't get involved in what appears to be a civil dispute over ownership to property. If he wants the dog back, he could report it stolen. He can sue you in Small Claims for the value of the dog or its return, if he can prove ownership. The fact that you use the dog as your ESA... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: neighbors filed an animal control complaint but weren’t going to press charges, yet I just received a vet bill.

My neighbors two houses up, called animal control because apparently my dog bit their chow. Animal control came to my house giving me a citation and was told the neighbors aren’t pressing charges, but then I received a letter with a vet bill and am being asked to reimburse them. Added note I have... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on Feb 9, 2020

You have an obligation to control your dog. Your dog escaped from your yard, a neighbor's dog was attacked at the same approximate time, and you think it's possible that another dog did it? Good luck.

Notify your homeowner's policy. Many of them contain coverage for liability arising out...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: My ex rehomed my dog and I want her back I have her microchipped in my name how can I get her back?

My abusive ex beat me if I didn’t listen to him and said I had to rehome my service dog. I finally got away from him and I need her back but the people won’t give her back. I still have her microchipped in my name can I get her back?

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

The title says your ex re homed the dog. The body suggests you rehomed the dog. If your ex did it, the question would be whether he had your express or implied authority, assuming you were the sole owner. If you re homed the dog, then you can't get it back. Any claims you have against your ex... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: What steps do I take to fight for my dog back that is being neglected by its new owners?
William John Light
William John Light answered on Feb 6, 2020

If he has "new owners", its not your dog anymore. Call Animal Control if you are concerned.

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Criminal Law and Federal Crimes for California on
Q: In CA, if I see a dog that I previously owned being neglected, what are the charges held against me if I take him?

I would like to take him back and give him the proper medical attention.

William John Light
William John Light answered on Feb 6, 2020

You can be criminally charged with Robbery (Penal Code section 211), or Larceny (Penal Code sections 484 & 487), depending on circumstances. You can also be sued for Trespass and Conversion, with an allegation of punitive damages. It's not your dog and you have no right to take him. If the dog... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: IN RESPONSE TO MR. LIGHT, THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR YOUR REPLY.

The situation I am in is compicated and horrible,two houses down and owners that used to be friends. the woman has serious emotional issues and got the horse so she can own one.The horse is only a possession, neither of them have any interest in the horse, so it stands there completely isolated in... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on Feb 1, 2020

Maybe you can ask the owner if you can work with the horse, if you can't buy her, assuming Animal Control finds no neglect.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: INTERPRETATION OF AMBIGUOUS ANIMAL RIGHTS LAWS

Hi, I am going through the process of trying to help a neglected horse. The poor thing is completely isolated and kept in a small fenced enclosure in the backyard. She is only given food, water and shelter with no other care that is crucial for a horses health and welfare. I will be submitting a... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on Feb 1, 2020

Your books on best practices for horse care are irrelevant. The law does not impose a duty to provide the best care required for a horse to be healthy and happy. The law imposes a minimum standard. Those minimum standards are:

Horses must be provided with necessary food, drink and...
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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Hi, my neighbors dog broke thru the fence and came into our yard and garage

If my dog is pregnant, are they responsible?

William John Light
William John Light answered on Jan 31, 2020

They are responsible for harm caused by their dog if they negligently controlled it. Has your dog been harmed? If you think you are entitled to payment, for what, exactly? Does your dog need a veterinarian? Or, do you want some money just because she is pregnant? How many puppies does the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: My friend just told me that the city came to take her female dog away. Unless they payed (she didn’t tell me how much).

Is this a thing? I never heard of anything like that.

William John Light
William John Light answered on Jan 31, 2020

There is more to this story. The city doesn't kidnap dogs and hold them for ransom.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Can we get a dog back after selling to a “friend” who isn’t able to care for it but still refuses to give it back to us?

She keeps him in the garage all the time, fails to keep the puppies shots up to date, he is going to be 4 months soon and he is still on his second shot because they don’t have “money” to pay for it, doesn’t have time for it because she has two toddlers and STILL refuses to give him to... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on Jan 31, 2020

You can make a report to Animal Control. Unless your sale agreement provides you with some authority to renege on the sale, you do not have the ability to take the dog back. ci.wasco.ca.us/city-departments/public-works/wasco-animal-shelter/

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Sold someone a dog in payments made a contract but they refuse to pay what can I do
William John Light
William John Light answered on Jan 30, 2020

If you could convince a Small Claims judge that the purchaser is in breach of the sales agreement, you can get a judgment for unpaid value of the sale, or return of the dog. If you sue, bring all evidence that of the sale, and of the payments made, of your your efforts to get full payment (emails,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: service animal denied entry in the apartment the VOA paid for Even though her credentials were shown

Service animal denied entry to apartments provided by the VOA

Was told that the Americans with disabilities act doesn't apply

William John Light
William John Light answered on Jan 25, 2020

Sounds like a good case. Talk to a discrimination attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: Ex boyfriend stole my therapy dog and then licenced him under his name. How can I get my therapy dog back?

Broke up in early November. Lived together as roommates until late December (due to a lease) when he stole my dog. Has refused to let me see him.

I called the police, they said that the dog was licenced to him now. Isn't he in possession of stolen property?

William John Light
William John Light answered on Jan 23, 2020

ANSWER: You can sue in Small Claims Court for return of the dog.

Plaintiff’s Claim and ORDER to Go to Small Claims Court; Form SC-100 (Lawsuit for monetary damages)

Request for Court Order and Answer; Form SC-105 (Request for Return of Property, filed with SC-100)

Order on...
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2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: my ex kept the cat I adopted. Am I responsible for her bills?

I adopted a cat in California in 2016. I moved to Oregon in 2018. My ex and I agreed that he would keep the cat but no transfer of ownership was made. Because my ex is shady and has tried to push his bills on me -even stole money from my account- am I legally responsible for the cat if he doesn’t... Read more »

William John Light
William John Light answered on Jan 23, 2020

It's his cat. You abandoned ownership or gave it to him. It is no longer yours. There is no formal "transfer of ownership" for a cat. If the cat was licensed and or chipped, you might consider contacting that entity and informing it of the new ownership.

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: My boyfriends sister abandoned her dog for a year and me and him want to take it

My boyfriends sister abandoned her dog for a year and we began taking care of her and buying her leash and tag. We were given her microchip forms by the sister and now she is saying she wants the dog back. She said she has the forms such as shots and adoption, but the dog has been out of her care... Read more »

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

It's unclear if she demonstrated an intent to no longer own the dog, or just left it with relative with the unspoken assumption that they would take care of it until she returned.

If she disputes ownership, you can't be "sure" that you can keep the pup until you are sued in Small Claims by...
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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for California on
Q: I rehomed my dog, however they new owners didn’t pay the full fee and are reluctant on giving her back, what can I do?

They avoided me for a couple of days and stated that I had originally stated a different price verbally but I have the message stating otherwise. What can I do?

William John Light
William John Light answered on Jan 15, 2020

You can sue for breach of contract and recover the unpaid funds, or try for an Order to return the dog after you have refunded what they have paid.

Plaintiff’s Claim and ORDER to Go to Small Claims Court; Form SC-100 (Lawsuit for monetary damages)

Request for Court Order and...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Constitutional Law, Consumer Law and Criminal Law for California on
Q: My dog Cooper got away from me and turned in at the Humane Society. I had spent all early morning and the day looking

Emailed all local shelters , and posted advertisements in neighborhood and online to find him. At 5:00pm the same day he went missing I located him at the local SanDiegoHumaneSociety. They had closed , I was instructed to claim him the following day upon opening.

4 years prior he had a... Read more »

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow answered on Jan 4, 2020

more info needed.

did you know he had a chip? did you make any attempt to "re chip" the dog?

you can retain a local lawyer or go to small claims to sue.

not the type of case we would accept but some lawyer might do that.

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