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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70525
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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If my dog gets stolen and the thief 'sells' it on to an innocent

Customer Question

If my dog gets stolen and the thief 'sells' it on to an innocent third part 'purchaser', surely unless it is sold in market ouvert, once it is found it has to be returned to me under Nemo Dat rules in that thief never acquired to pass on to purchaser................why should dogs be any different from anything else when it comes to inability to pass title and inc even when poor purchaser has had dog microchipped? I know of no exception ATM to that rule in respect of dogs but desperately need to know quickly!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
On the face of it, such a person would have a claim to the dog.
But the police will not enforce it because it is a civil matter.
Since this is not a higher purchase agreement the innocent purchaser defence would not arise.
However, proving ownership is harder than for a vehicle. A microchip is only prima facie evidence and without it things become harder.
The Theft Act does not apply because this is an innocent purchaser and so there is no handling.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
On assumption that original owner CAN prove original ownership to satisfaction of civil court, surely final 'purchaser' cannot claim title, since thief had no title to pass, Nemo Dat and all that/Dat LOL. I agree it all depends on original owner being able to prove ownership (if not then problem which I accept) - all I'm saying is that thief cannot pass title even if paid by poor final purchaser. That purchaser has no defence to original owner's title provided that owner can prove surely?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
There is a bona fide purchaser defence that could apply if a purchaser can show that the contract was an honest one for value but it is not usually raised in relation to dogs.