Pennsylvania Animal / Dog Law Questions & Answers

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 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 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 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 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.

Q: Can you appeal a descion from landlord to get rid of dog?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Appeals / Appellate Law and Landlord - Tenant for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Jul 18, 2018
Peter Munsing's answer
Check your lease. You haven't said what breed of dog he is. If he is strong enough to pull a stake out of the ground then chances are no court will side with you.

Second, he knocked someone down. That's aggression. You may think it's cute. The fact you wrote the above says no one else did.

Not trying to down you but you have to get a bit more perspective--a dog is not presumed innocent, especially one that is of sufficient size and strength to knock someone down. You leave...

Q: Dog urinated on neighbor's mailbox post. Why am I being cited?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Jun 26, 2018
Cary B. Hall's answer
Your question is one concerning enforcement -- and should be addressed to your local magisterial district judge ("MDJ") when you fight the citation. Go for it. If there's inconsistent enforcement of such a citation, your MDJ just may have a problem with that . . . .

Q: What charges can a dog that was sold that wasnt theres can be?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on Jun 21, 2018
Cary B. Hall's answer
Theft by deception, at the very least. Contact the local police department for the city in which the dog-flipper lives and file a report. It's possible the police will try to persuade you to sue the person in small claims court, but be persistent and ask that criminal charges be brought. You may not be successful, but you'll never get unless you ask.

Best of luck to you.

Q: If my dog jump the fence and impregnated my neighbor's dog can the neighbor sue me for puppy support

2 Answers | Asked in Criminal Law, Family Law, Personal Injury and Animal / Dog Law for Pennsylvania on
Answered on May 27, 2018
Cary B. Hall's answer
Hmmmm - I'll admit this is a new one even for me, heh. "Puppy support"? No. Monetary damages for trespass? Potentially yes. The question, then, is how to calculate those damages, and what sorts of things can be included within those damages. It's probably a wash in that presumably you'd be entitled to half of the litter, no? Could be a bit more complicated if your neighbor's dog is a purebreed and used for breeding for a profit, but I imagine such a dog owner would have a bit more...

Q: i am pregnant for 8 months a dog belong to another person suddenly attacked and pushed me? can i sue that owner

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Pennsylvania on
Answered on May 22, 2018
Peter Munsing's answer
Yes, but unless you were in fact injured what you get may not be worth the cost of the suit. However your medical bills would be an item of damage you could recover.

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