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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi there, My partner bought me a sausage dog for Christmas

Customer Question

Hi there,
My partner bought me a sausage dog for Christmas last year for £950. We have since broke up. The puppy was registered with me with the Kennel Club. She is currently in my possession. Catherine is threatening going to a solicitors and taking me through the small claims court to gain outright possession of the dog or the ability to share her.
I need to get some advice as to where I stand legally on this.
Can you help?
Best wishes,
Helen Frost
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Who takes care of the dog please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Jo,
I moved out of the property on 28th September and took the dog with me to my parents house. Since then she has been living with me. However I allowed Cat to look after her for a few alternative weeks to appease her as I needed her signature on the paper work to release her from the house. Once I obtained this I have since kept the dog full time and haven't allowed her to take her back. I have since moved back into to property we lived in with the dog with me.

Is this what you need?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks. XXXXX presume this is just a let dog?

He is not a showing champion?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She is a Pedigree miniature short haired Daschund. Not a working dog, not a show dog, nothing like that, just a pet.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
How old is she now please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Born 10th October 2012

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

She could make an application to the court for a declaration of ownership and the consequent possession order. The court will consider things like who paid for the dog but also to whom he is registered and who looks after him.

She has no realistic chance of outright possession. The closest she could get is a finding that he is jointly owned but then all she would get is an order that he be sold and the profits divided between you which will not be what she wants. Also, however much our dogs mean to us their monetary value is very low even for a young pedigree. Unless this is a show champion you could buy her out very cheaply.

Its possible she could apply but not likely it would succeed.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for this. So if it went to court, then there is a chance the court will declare that she is jointly owned and therefore force us to sell her? And there wouldn't be anything either of us could do once that has been said? Can a family member buy her? Who's to say who has her if her family and mine both try to buy her if it gets to that?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Well, there is a chance that could happen. Its not all that likely in this case but its the best option she has. There's no prospect of a court saying this is her dog.

What the judge will do is say to you both that he is thinking of ordering sale unless you can agree something and she will start to negotiate then. I've done hundreds if these cases and its amazing how a prospect of sale of a family pet focuses people's minds.

The dog is in your possession. The order will be upon you to sell. Who you sell to is matter for you as long as you get a reasonable price which will not be a lot
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

ok thank you for this. this is encouraging news. so basically it's looking positive that either the dog will be declared mine, or she will be declared both of ours and we will be told to negotiate or sell. I don't want to share ownership of her as it's not conducive to moving on with our lives, so then I will be instructed to sell her, to whomever I choose, and essentially then she can be returned to me (unofficially)? Is this right?


Regarding court costs though, does she pay? do I? Would I have to find someone to represent me?

thanks again

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, thats right.

If you win then she would pay costs. If she wins then you would.

You could self represent. Its always safer to have representation but not essential.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

didnt you say she has no chance of winning though?

She has contacted me today to let me know she has sought legal advice and is confident she will be able to "win sole custody" of the dog. This entirely contradicts what you've told me therefore I assume she is bluffing and noone has told her this.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

No, I said she has no chance of winning sole custody on the facts you present here.

I think you will really need to ask another question to pursue this as I've answered your original question.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69268
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok, sorry I wasnt aware as it's the first time using the service and am just trying to get my head round this.

Thank you for your help


Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, its fine. Now you have rated you can ask follow up questions that are related for free - if you wanted to know anything else?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

oh right, I see. Sorry would have done it sooner, didnt realise! I just worry as she has written to me saying she has been told she will win outright custody.

Might the court insist upon joint custody of the dog? I thought they didnt have the power to insist that we share her 6 months at a time for example.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Well, there could be lots of explanations for that. Its not all that likely she has been told by anybody credible that she will win sole custody if the facts above are correct.

The court can't make orders relating to custody. This isn't a contact dispute. However much our dogs mean to us they are property.

What the court can do is decide that he is the property of one or the other of you and order a possession order.

However, what may happen here is that the court may decide he is jointly owned and order that he be sold and the proceeds split between you.

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