Pennsylvania Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers

Q: Consequences of not giving shared dog back to ex husband since he wants to take him out of state

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Mar 18, 2019
Peter N. Munsing's answer
Talk to your lawyer. Who is the owner under the license? That's what the police will look at.

Q: Hello I purchased a purebred chihuahua puppy breeder now put in shelter and shelter won’t give back anything I can do

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Mar 18, 2019
Peter N. Munsing's answer
Ask to meet with the shelter manager and find out why. If they don't satisfy you ask the police if you can file a complaint with them for not giving you your property. Maybe call the state ASPCA first to get an idea of the law regarding shelters.

Q: While walking my 8 year old blue merle collie on a leash my dog was struck by a vehicle-street was clear when crossing

2 Answers | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Feb 6, 2019
Michael H. Fienman's answer
Your case can be pursued both criminally and civilly.

With respect to criminal prosecution, it is not your decision whether charges are filed. The local police department that responded to your call and the district attorney for the county in which this incident occurred have complete discretion when it comes to prosecuting the case. To the extent the matter is prosecuted, make sure that the police are aware of the costs incurred at the veterinarian. You may be able to obtain...

Q: my ex wife took our dog to SPCA without my permission

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Feb 4, 2019
Peter N. Munsing's answer
Courts in PA generally do not get involved in animal custody. Discuss it with the lawyer handling your divorce. Possible if it was known to be jointly owned that the SPCA may have some liability but I don't see it, under the law.

Q: I gave someone my dog to keep while his wife had cancer. He promised to give my dog back after she died. Now he won’t

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Criminal Law, Family Law and Federal Crimes for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Jan 22, 2019
Kathryn Hilbush's answer
I doubt you can sue her for theft since your uncle handed the dog over to her. Maybe if you offer to reimburse her for the vet bills she'll return the dog. Since she seems to care enough for the dog to spend a decent amount of money on her, perhaps the nicest thing you can do for your dog is allow her to stay where she is and get yourself another one to love.

Q: My ex has left the dog with me for 2 months with no contact. Can I claim full ownership?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 17, 2018
Cary B. Hall's answer
I think at this point, it's pretty safe to say the dog is yours. If he wants the dog back, let him file a lawsuit against you in small claims court and then he can try to convince the court otherwise. At the very least, if a court would ever order you to return the dog to him, it would only be after he pays you back for all dog-related expenses incurred since he left the dog with you -- so make sure you have saved receipts, credit card statements, etc. for everything you've spent, just in...

Q: I have to keep my dogs outside for the next 6 months. There is a heated shed they have access to with fresh water?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Dec 14, 2018
Peter N. Munsing's answer
Check with a vet and the humane society. They'd be the people called if there was a suspected problem.

Q: I let my Yorkiepoo visit my daughter n her girlfriend kept and licensed my dog in her grandmothers address.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Oct 28, 2018
Peter N. Munsing's answer
You can try the police--it's conversion of a dog, but your civil remedy is what the dog is worth in market value, not it's value to you. Sorry, that's the law.

Suggest you discuss with a family therapist how to proceed as getting legal may end up breaking one or more relations you have and while right now you may feel "so what?" later you may not.

Q: A friend was watching my dog while I was in Japan. He was supposed to send the dog to me after 6 months, but has cut off

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Oct 11, 2018
Peter N. Munsing's answer
Spend more money than the dog is worth. Fact is if you return to Japan they may not allow the dog in, and vice versa. Time to realize that this person did something wrong and just remember the vet bills are now all his responsibility.

Q: My son bought a purebred English lab Jun16,2018 she was 8wks old. Very smart. Got along with my American Staffordshire.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Identity Theft for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Oct 3, 2018
Kathryn Hilbush's answer
I suggest that you go to your local district court and file a civil complaint, seeking return of your dog.

Q: How do I get my emotional support dogs back that were wrongfully adopted out and I was refused the right to see them ?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Family Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Sep 8, 2018
Kathryn Hilbush's answer
I'm afraid you're going to have to be a little more specific in your question? Were they taken to a shelter by someone? Were they stolen from you?

Q: Broke up, Share a dog for 2yrs. He made the money exchange, both have been equal care takers, does GF have rights?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Sep 3, 2018
Cary B. Hall's answer
Pennsylvania does not recognize any "custody" of pets. In Pennsylvania, pets are property - just like a lamp or a sofa. If two people want to fight over a pet in court, one will get it and the other won't - and a judge will decide who if you two can't.

Best of luck to you.

Q: boyfriend/girlfriend(live together 11/2 years) boy bought dog for girl/family girl primary caregiver for dog.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Aug 20, 2018
Cary B. Hall's answer
Most likely the girlfriend will keep the dog: it was a gift from boyfriend to girlfriend, and she has been the primary caretaker for the pet.

Q: My roommate took one of my cats when she moved out. What can I do to get him back?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Aug 15, 2018
Joseph D. Allen's answer
The question of ownership is the key one here. It sounds like you have some good evidence in your favor on that point. Depending on how much value you place on the cat- you could hire an attorney to write a demand letter for you. The eventual suit in Maryland District Court would be for detinue- return of property.

Q: I am getting divorced and would like to know if my spouse has any legal right to my dogs.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Divorce for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Aug 11, 2018
Cary B. Hall's answer
Under Pennsylvania divorce law, pets are considered property, like furniture or anything else in your house. If you two can't agree who gets the dogs, a court certainly will -- just like it would distribute any other pieces of marital property. There will be no "custody" order for pets, because Pennsylvania doesn't do that. From the details of your question, it appears that you'd certainly have the stronger case for getting the dogs. But your best bet is to reach an agreement with your...

Q: I am getting divorced and would like to know if my spouse has any legal right to try and take my dogs from me.

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Divorce for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Aug 10, 2018
Kathryn Hilbush's answer
Have you discussed this with your lawyer? How were the dogs acquired? Did you purchase the from a breeder or a store? Did you adopt them from a rescue? Are you the one who took them to the vet? Usually, under any of these circumstances, there's a name listed as the new owner. Honestly, the courts don't really want to hear cases about who gets the dogs anymore than about who gets the dining room furniture because, even though to us the dogs are far from being furniture, usually the courts...

Q: Estranged family member abandoned dog and left him in my care. How can I claim legal ownership/rights to him?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Aug 6, 2018
Kathryn Hilbush's answer
I'm not quite sure there's a good answer to your question but here's what I think. Unless the dog is a pedigree with papers, whoever adopted/bought the dog originally would be considered the original owner. In my experience, when people then give the dog away, unless it's to a rescue group, they just hand over the leash and that's it, no paperwork involved. I assume you've been paying for the dog's immunizations and whatever else may have required the vet. I would say that, after a year, he's...

Q: One of my roommates left a cat at my house for months and now wants her back. Legally what can she do?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Jul 18, 2018
Peter N. Munsing's answer
Depends on agreement. If you agreed to keep the cat and return whenever that's one thing. If she said she was leaving the state and never contacted you that would be abandonment.

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