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Kasare
Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
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​, I am looking legal advice on dog ownership. On

Resolved Question:

​Hi,
I am looking for some legal advice on dog ownership.
On Sunday (15th March) I took possession of a 6 month old​ pedigree, Kennel Club registered dog. At the time I was approached (the day before) we clearly stated that we would not pay any money for the dog, it was not being kept in a great environment and I considered this to be a "rescue".
On the Sunday I spoke on the phone to the landlady who had approached me and also to the student who was the owner of the dog (and lodger in her house) and confirmed that we could take the dog and asked both the landlady and her student if they were "happy for me to take the dog" they both said yes. I then went round to the house to collect the dog, at which time I again asked if they "were happy for me to take the dog" and again they answered yes.
To be clear, at no stage, on the phone or when I was there, did either the landlady or her student mention wanting any money for the dog, the landlady in particular seemed keen for us to take the dog to give it a better home (we are dog owners currently) The student handed me the dog, the Kennel Club documents, his microchip record, his vet record and his bed, toys etc Again, no money was mentioned and I left the property with the dog.
On Monday (16th March) I applied on the Kennel Club website to change the ownership details for the dog (this was confirmed in email as completed the same day, documentation is due in 10 days) Later on Monday, the landlady called me and said that her lodger had now asked her if I was going to pay any money for the dog. I stated that at no stage was money discussed, which she acknowledged and that I had now taken on the welfare and financial responsibility for the dog. As it was the lodger who had handed over the dog and it's belongings, I told her to get him to call me. He did not.
The lodger showed up at our house twice yesterday (Wednesday 18th) saying that he never meant to give the dog away, that he wanted to sell it.
I do not want to give this dog back, he will not be kept in a suitable environment and will not be cared for properly if he goes back to this student.
So I am now looking for legal advice as to who would be considered to be the owner now?
Many thanks,
Keely.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Kasare replied 2 years ago.
Hi thank you for your question, I will assist you with this.
Whilst a dog may be a domestic animal, in the eyes of the law it is considered to be "moveable property" or a "possession" (commonly referred to as “chattels”). Ownership of chattels, or the dog in this instance, is said to be “absolute”.
Where a person owns something “absolutely” they own it unconditionally and are free to treat, use or dispose of it as they wish.
The example often used is there a dog has strayed and found a new home, as the person who lost the dog owned the dog “absolutely”, he retains his ownership of the dog.
In your situation, you have re-homed this dog - with the owners express consent. Therefore, in your position I would suggest that the original owner no longer owns the dog absolutely as he gave it to you freely.
Unfortunately, it does happen from time to time that after adopting or rescuing another's animal the former owner decides he wants to do something different and wants his dog back. If you refuse he would have to bring a claim against you for wrongful detention of his goods.
This type of claim would be a civil claim usually brought in the small claims court.
However, I would suggest that you could easily defend this claim on the basis that he gave you the dog along with all his identification etc, thereby giving ownership of the dog to you. The landlady, the Kennel Club and any other party could be a witness to this.
Therefore in the circumstances, I would argue that you are now the legal owner of the dog and if the former owner wants to try and get the dog back he should apply to the court.
I hope this assists. If you have any further questions please ask.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you so much for your prompt reply, the information clearly addressed my queries and has given me good direction on how to deal with it.

Expert:  Kasare replied 2 years ago.

Not a problem Keely, good luck and as I said, stand your ground. If he does issue proceedings in the court it is a small claim so you would not incur large legal fees if - for some strange reason - he was successful.

Don't forget to accept or rate my answer!

Thanks

Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1301
Experience: Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
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