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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71042
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have had my dog stolen by an ex partner on Saturday. A year

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I have had my dog stolen by an ex partner on Saturday. A year ago, the ex partner has acknowledged in writing that I purchased the dog and offered to remunerate me the cost to claim, she is the owner which I declined. The Police are 'unsure' if this is a civil domestic matter passed on us being ex partners or a criminal matter under Theft act 1968. The Police also acknowledge, my ex partner had in letters over the last 2 months threatened to take the dog. The is a witness to the dog being snatched on Saturday, who identified my ex partner and her Mother as the individuals placing the dog in the back of a car and driving off. I need to know, what I can do to get the dog back, as I suffer from Mental illness and he is what keeps me calm.

Is there a means to get a possession order to get the dog back?

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Yes, you can seek a declaration of ownership and the consequent possession order at court.
However, you should be aware that the fact that she has acknowledged that you purchased the dog is not sufficient to prove ownership. Many dogs are in multiple ownership and change keepers regardless of who purchased them.
The court would consider things like who purchased, who looks after him regularly, to whom he is registered etc.
Further, the risk that you run is that the court could say he is jointly owned and order that the dog be sold and the profits split between you. It must be said it doesn't normally come to that as parties will suddenly agree who is the lawful owner when that threat is made.
You could always get a solicitor to write to her for about £100 threatening to sue and seek costs against her.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo,

Thank you for your reply and information.

I would add that my ex partner was advised to do exactly what you have stated by the Police 2 weeks ago, as she has been making threats to get the dog for the last 2 months.

The Detective Constable who advised her to stay away from me and the dog is in shock as he did not expect her to take the actions of last Saturday and has stated to me, that based on her being warned to stay away and then, taking the actions which she has, it is a criminal offence under the Theft act 1968, as she planned the theft, stalked me and then, proceeded to get the dog and has refused to return him.

The Detective Inspector has called saying she need to clarify with another officer if it is theft or a civil situation before taking action and I have to wait another 7-10 days before I will know more. Is there anything I can actually do? Is there any legal ground which I have to tell the Police to get the dog?

They will not just seize the dog normally anyway.
Even if they do prosecute her for theft they will not usually recover the dog.
If she is claiming that he belongs to her then they will probably say it is a civil matter.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Therefore, the DC speaking to her and advising her 2 weeks ago to stay away from me and the dog, as well as her threats are irrelevant?

Also if I were to do as she has done by snatching the dog, am I guilty of a crime?

Please bear in mind, the thief was warned of legal action if they were to come near me or the dog on 14th September 2014 and it appears by what you are stating, there is no legal action available to the Police for the theft on Saturday?

1 Yes
2 Not if jointly own the dog. It is a bad idea though in case she makes other allegations.
3 No, that is not what I am saying. It is not that black and white. Nothing ever is with legal action. What I am saying is that it is unlikely they think this was a crime for the reasons above. If they do you will be lucky.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I appreciate what you are saying and understand it is not black and white.

I would add, the thief had a letter on 14/9/14 advising to stay away, I had thereafter 4 letters threatening to 'take the dog' and the Detective Constable stated, he felt a 'warning' instead of a Police injunction would be sufficient to keep her away and she agreed with the DC to follow the civil route.

Therefore by her ignoring everything stated above, there is no crime?

Jack (the dog) is not jointly owned as the ex partner also wrote a letter on 11th February 2014 stating she did not want to have ownership or seek legal action for any items in the property including the dog and now, has done what she has; so it is safe to say, she cannot retract from her letter without going to court and stealing Jack.

No, that is not what I said.
I am sorry but I cannot agree that there isn't a claim in civil law. The fact that she wrote a letter is evidence only and really doesn't prove a huge amount. Lay people do not understand terms like 'ownership' and the fact that she said she would not claim does not prove she cannot or that she hasn't got a claim.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I agree there is a civil claim, what I am asking is as follows:

If she was advised by a legal adviser and the Police to take civil action in regards ***** ***** of the dog / make a civil claim and then takes criminal action by snatching the dog as she did:

1) Can she ignore Solicitor advice and Police warning?

2) Why can't I do as she did and snatch the dog?
Should she not be told to return the dog and seek a civil solution?

* If it were a car, TV or other item, it would be returned and resolved in court, correct? Therefore, why as the victim of a crime, am I having to be seeking civil solution?

It is not that black and white. Nothing ever is with legal action. What I am saying is that it is unlikely they think this was a crime for the reasons above. If they do you will be lucky.
1 It isn't that simple for the reasons I have explained.
2 Not if jointly own the dog. It is a bad idea though in case she makes other allegations.
3 Yes, if you go to court and get an order to that effect.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

One final question (promise Smile )

Over the course of the last year, my ex partner has made unfounded and proven to be false allegations including assault (Oct 2013), harassment (March 2014) and fraud (August 2014).

In writing to her and advising her to stay away from me, the dog and my property, I was protecting myself from further allegations and I subsequently received threats from her, hence why the Police warned her off.

Bearing in mind the above, what can I do to protect myself as she has shown she cannot be trusted and even with the Police warning her away, she ignores them? I have spoken to the Detective Inspector of the local Police who has taken this on board and working out if it is civil / domestic or criminal issue, though at the same time, I am fearing for my safety as her family are unpredictable and her father has anger management issues and firearms in his home.

Hence why in her taking the dog, I do not seek to confront them and also, feel powerless to obtain him back, which has caused me to suffer further mental health difficulties and be on a watch list, as I attempted suicide 4 years ago.

Well, she will be used to be able to throw the police off her scent with false allegations of abuse. It is a well known female dodge. Avoiding responsibility by making allegations of abuse every time you cant have what you want.
There isn't any way of preventing her from doing that.
If you have nothing else to do with her though then you shouldn't be the target. She will find somebody else soon enough and can concentrate upon perverting the course of justice in relation to him not you.
Just get yourself a court order which will resolve the issue forever.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have moved on in my life and had nothing to do with her at all since August 2013. The only thing is the dog and for a year, he hasn't been an issue at all. Then based on the allegations, I wrote to her advising to not make further communications with me and she needed to pursue the legal route in future regarding the dog.

Over the course of the last 2 months, I received 3 written threats and the Police decided not to issue an injunction against her and instead, warned her away. There seems to be nothing I can do in regards ***** ***** the dog, except the route 'she' was unwilling to take and even if I get an injunction, there is nothing binding anyone to it.

They can't issue her an injunction. They are not a court. All they can do is give her a harassment warning.
In truth, I would never normally suggest a person report that type of thing. You need to because you are involved with a vexatious accuser and you need to make reports about her conduct to head off her false claims.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I am aware that Courts issue the injunction and apologies, the Police DC warned her and he felt he didn't want to issue a harassment warning as in his words, she stated she would go via a Solicitor and Court.

The Police have an incident report for each letter (4 in total) threatening to get the dog, they have acknowledged it is Theft under Theft act 1968 and the false allegations since August 2013, but seem unwilling to do anything except agree all the allegations are false and apologies to me.

Yes, what they should be doing is giving her a wasting police time fine if not prosecuting for perverting.
I suppose they could prosecute her for harassment.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your advice.
Effectively, I need to add all my ex partner has done over. The last year including the false allegations of assault, harassments and forwards together with the recent letters threatening to take the dog and hope, the police take action under the theft act of 1968.
Is there anything else that I could add bearing in mind I am registered for my doctor is suffering from mental illness, the police are aware, I am a vulnerable individual and I am on a suicide watch lists with the community safety unit at my local police station been aware of this and the fact that the dog is key part of my recovery.
Not in addition to what I've suggested above.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Oh ok.
In regards ***** ***** myself from future allegations, I need to go to court.
Finally, if the police had prior knowledge of her actions & did little to nothing to stop her or change the current situation; are they acting in an unprofessional manner?
I ask as the IPCC & a Chief Constable, I work with have both stated that it's a serious concern the manner which officers have reacted & conducted themselves.
There is nothing they can do to stop a vexatious accuser.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Ok Thank you & have a lovely evening
No problem and all the best.
Remember that I am always available to help with your questions. Even if I am in Court I will usually pick up a question within 12 hours. For future information, please start your question with ‘For Jo C’.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I just remembered that as an individual with mental illnesses & having attempted suicide as well, the police community safe unit have guidelines to keep me safe, is this true?
Not that make any difference to this situation.
You don't have additional rights because you have these difficulties. There is a general duty to every member of the public.
I am happy to continue with this but please leave feedback for my answer.
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