How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask JGM Your Own Question
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 12389
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
Type Your Law Question Here...
JGM is online now

Can someone please point me in the direction of a Scottish

This answer was rated:

Can someone please point me in the direction of a Scottish solicitor who could help me with a dog ownership issue?
Thank you in advance for your help.

I am a solicitor in Scotland. Can you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Hi thank you for your response. I have been fostering an 18 month old dog at the request of my vet for the last three months as the owner was unwell and unable to look after her. The owner has a chaotic life and has now moved out of the area. He had agreed to sign over ownership as he recognises that he is unable to look after a pet (I am very happy to give this lovely dog a permanent home) but has to date failed to do so and is now uncontactable. The dog microchip details are in the owners ex partners name and she had intimated to the vet on several previous occasions that she did not want the dog. The vet surgery have been very supportive and are keen for the dog to remain in my care. They wrote to the microchip company explaining the situation and have requested transfer of ownership. The microchip company initiated their usual processes and subsequently received telephone contact from the owners partner stating that she wants the dog back. She was advised to formalise her intentions but has not done so as yet. She may not do so in which case ownership will be transferred to me however I wonder where I stand legally in this situation if she does pursue ownership and wanted to be prepared. I am very keen to give this dog a home. I've tried to keep this brief and hope that I've given you enough information. I'm happy to elaborate if need be. Thank you in advance. Rachel
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I should add that I phoned a couple of local solicitors but it would seem dog ownership issues are a niche area hence my search for guidance here!

Thank you for your question. Dog ownership is a matter of fact as a dog is treated as a "thing" in the eyes of the law. That means that a dog can be sold or given away in the same way that you could sell or give away a car. So signing over ownership is really fairly meaningless as you can have a verbal agreement to sell or give away anything (other than houses or land) under Scots law. The microchip does not conclusively prove ownership either although the owner is supposed to advise of a change in ownership as you know. If the holder of the chip certificate doesn't inform the microchip company that doesn't mean that you are not the owner. Indeed the immediate past owner appears to be the person who is unwell and not the holder of the chip certificate. I presume they were deemed joint owners and then she left and he kept the dog so the facts point to him being the owner and he seems happy to give you the dog. That is likely to be the reason that the chip company could transfer to you off their own back if you like unless a claim is made. My view is that that last owner of the dog gave the dog to you via his vet, initially as a foster carer and latterly gave you ownership. I would sit tight and if there is no claim made by the ex girlfriend I would reapply for a chip transfer. Happy to discuss. I hope that helps. Please leave a positive rating so that I am credited for my time.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you I will leave a rating. I appreciate the information. From what you've said I do have a legal right to the dog and hope she makes no further attempt to claim ownership in which case all will be well. If she does continue to try to claim ownership what action do I take from there? Small claims court? Appoint solicitor? Kind Regards, Rachel

It would be up to her to raise action for the dog. You have possession.

JGM and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Many thanks for the information you've supplied it's appreciated. Have a good evening. I will complete the rating now.