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Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 36308
Experience:  Barrister at Self Employed Barrister
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This is about pet ownership law. Assistant: Where is this?

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This is about pet ownership law.
Assistant: Where is this? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: I live in London. have been looking after a dog for 18 months and the owner was clearly neglectful in the past. The owner has had financial difficulties and I have allowed very late payment on many occasions despite the fact that he is careless and it severely affects my ability to make ends meet. His business has now gone into administration and there is no hope of being paid for the last 2 invoices, totalling just under £3000. The last time he saw the dog was February for about 20 minutes and very little in the 11 months prior since the dog came to be with me. The dog's behaviour has changed completely since being with me and he is fully settled in the only home and family he has ever truly known (prior to this, passed from sitter to sitter and his behaviour was out of control so no one would keep him). I pay all vet bills up front because the owner cannot be trusted to pay them after my vet had to threaten him with court action and he still ignored the bill for 9 months. So I pay up front for all of his treatment and simply hope to get paid back each month. There is no shortage of evidence that he my concerns for the dog being able to see the vet when needed and how his unwillingness to pay jeopardises my ability to care for the dog. The current circumstances of his company, Nodal Labs, for which the media has reported fabrications of the truth to investors and non-payment of employees as the key reasons for its demise (among many other issues I am aware of), there is no hope of being paid or having the man cover any necessary vet bills if an emergency were to occur. Meanwhile, I am aware of frivilous spending of investor's money on the part of this person for activities not related to his business and he is such a con-artist that every high profile employee he hired ended up quickly and quietly leaving, in addition to his being dropped by Saatchi and Saatchi, who considered suing him for his lies.
In any case, I love this dog as if he were my own and he needs to be - he cannot go back to the horrible situation he was previously in. I need to be able to ensure his safety and care from a financial perspective and get him insured in my name. The owner has repeatedly failed to secure insurance when the advice he has requested from me was dutifully provided on multiple occasions, and now given his inability to pay me or pay any vet, I need to be able to take care of things for this poor dog. The vet is in full support that the owner has shown no duty of care for his animal, nor has he ever heeded any advice regarding payment and inability to provide future services from them or myself. In fact, any such information has always been ignored. The evidence I have for this man not caring for this dog is endless and I need - for both the dog's well-being and my own mental health and peace of mind - to not have to go through a person like this in order to care for this poor dog. I love him with all my heart and he is at home with me and my other dogs. He has had enough upheaval in the 4 years before coming to me and cannot go back to that. I have advised that all debt would be eradicated if he signed over the dog for his own well-being, but this has been refused, just as I knew it would be. I have no doubt that this man has narcissistic personality disorder and have therefore been too scared of him trying to take the dog back to bring this up. However, I reached breaking point with my worry and with being ignored and, as this man will not have money for a long while to come, this situation needs to be dealt with now before any emergency happens and no one can pay for treatment for this amazing dog. I need help and advice, as I have no doubt this man will fight me because he is unable to see it is clearly best for the dog and has shown in many examples that he places a lot of importance on having "dog owner" as part of his false persona. In fact, the man has never looked after this dog and left him with anyone who would have him. He w
Assistant: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: All written above.
Assistant: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
He was also brought from Romania illegally after a vet was paid off there to claim vaccines had been given a month before they really were (the dog was living with the man's ex-girlfriend's mother in Romania, apparently).
Despite having a romanian microchip, I guarantee the details for the "owner" are not up to date. Even I do not know his current address as he has been careful to keep it from me. Now, given that he is no longer in his office either, I cannot reach this man when he repeatedly ignores me and repeats lie after lie. I need to be able to chip the dog with an English chip, which I will keep up to date, and then start an insurance policy. The vet views me as the owner of this dog and I pay his bills, regardless of if I am going to be repaid (which is always touch and go). I need to be able to secure his care because no one else will. I have the dog's EU passport and am listed as one of 2 owners on it.
I need the law to agree that this dog needs to remain with me and ensure that I can take care of him to a level that I do my other 2 dogs. They are my loves and my life, and this dog is no different in my eyes and heart.
Please help me.


Thank you for your query. Whom is the animal registered to?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
As I said, the dog's Romanian microchip is in the man's name. There is no other registration than that except the vet and insurance, and the dog is not insured. That is the reason I want custody sorted for it. He is registered to me at the vet practice because the owner would not pay the vet. We are both listed as owners on the pet's EU passport.
I guarantee the owner has not retained any documents from when he got the dog, and do not even know what country he got him from originally. The poor dog's life was being sent from pillar to post before me. I can also guarantee that the dog's Romanian microchip does not have correct registration details for the man and has not been kept up to date, thus making it useless in the case of a return of a lost dog.
I hope that you have experience in this area and in England to provide the most relevant advice here, because this is a very important matter to me.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I now understand what is meant by registration of the dog. I did not know that UK registration of the chip was separate.
I have now registered the dog's overseas microchip, which had never before been registered in the UK. It was from Poland. Very strangely, however, the dog was implanted with a separate UK microchip in 2014, according to records. This one was indeed registered in the UK, but of course I do not have that information. On the basis that I am the dog's keeper and he resides with me (and has done so for 18 months with no indication of this arrangement changing despite my services not being paid for or vet/food/care recharges paid back to me). It was my duty upon realising that the dog's residence was never kept up to date, to rectify this information with the truth of where he resides and who is his keeper. Therefore, I applied to transfer the dog's record to my name and agreed to the statements that I am his keeper and provide his residence. This has now been completed and his records are correct for the first time since being in the UK. The dog was previously with sitter after sitter and in the UK and other countries, which is why I know his residence was never accurate.
So, while he can try to get the registration back into his name, he would presumably have to prove that the records he provided were accurate and what I have provided is inaccurate. This would be impossible as I have endless evidence that the dog has always been with me since the end of March 2018.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I have now begun the process of insuring Gatsby and am simply awaiting the vet history to be approved by underwriters.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I hope that this is now all the information you require.

I will opt out of this

Let me see if I can help and please rate 5 stars. Is it not your case that this man has in fact abandoned the dog in your care and as a result of your kindness and the money spent by you you have in fact become the de facto owner of the dog. I rather think that if he was to take you to court for the return of the dog (which I doubt in any event) then the court would agree that through his actions and your over the past 18 months that you are now the lawful owner of the dog. Happy to discuss and please rate 5 stars

My pleasure.

Justanswer works on a rating system and so that I can close this question can you please rate. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question? You can either reply on here with a quick ‘Yes, thanks’, or select 3, 4 or 5stars on this page.This is how Justanswer works. I can still answer follow up questions if needed to clarify anything for you. But this lets me close the case and not need to email you again. If you need more assistance, please use the reply box below and let me know. It has been my pleasure to assist you! Many thanks​

Did you have any further questions?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Hi, apologies - I was on the phone with customer services because I had been promised a free expert phone call due to previous failings on both their end and the other "expert". They could not find notes to this effect and I had to wait for a supervisor to call back.
They are messaging you to advise of this and that I should write my phone number in a message instead of clicking the call me now button.
So, my phone number is ***** 237 246 for when you have recieved that confirmation from customer services.

IN the meantime what other questions do you have and I can answer here?

And also please remember to rate 5 stars for my help

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I had meant to rewrite the question yesterday for clarity, but did not have time right then. You certainly seem to have been able to understand the question though, unlike the previous person.
One clarification though is that the man was reimbursing me for all costs and paying for boarding sporadically up until 2 months ago. However, it was like getting blood from a stone and the vet would corroborate having to threaten legal action over unpaid bills. Now that he has no income stream is the reason for my wanting to take action at this stage to ensure the dog's welfare financially by insuring him.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I will.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
am I allowed to start any proceedings to have the dog signed over officially or do I have to wait and see if he does?

You have to wait and see if he does anything.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Given that it is the undeniable truth that I have been the dog's keeper and residence for this time, are there any circumstances under which my taking over his registration when owner refused to sign over could be viewed as an aggressive action? Since I am following the law?

The longer the time the stronger your case in any event. I would simply ignore him now.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Is there any circumstance in which he could claim I have now stolen the dog and pursue me via the police? Considering he handed the dog over and has been happy for him to be with me for all this time... and if he now demands the dog back and I refuse, could it be claimed I have stolen him?

I can't see that in light of the length of time you have had the dog. So, No.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
am I fully within my rights to insure the dog as his keeper, with or without the "owner" consent?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Having been up front with the insurer about the situation, that is.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Next question: If he were to pursue me legally for return of the dog, can I then make a claim for itemised charges for the time in between if he is saying he still owned the dog then?

The fact that you ah e had the dog for 18 months allows you to insure the dog. If they pursue you legally then you could counter claim for the money spent. Yes.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I think my only other big concern would be if he tried to "steal" the dog back. Not that I expect this, or think he would be successful, but if it did, would I have any rights to get the dog returned to me?

In theory on the basis that your case is he's abandoned the dog and as such you own it. You have now obtained registration. As such I would be minded if I was you to call the police and have him arrested, if he tried to 'steal' the dog. I hope this makes sense. Please rate 5 stars

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Oh, one more, actually.
In terms of informing the "owner" that I have taken the keepership registration so he knows my intent, do I have to do this? He knows that I have demanded the dog be signed over, he refused and stated that he is the "registered owner" which I now understand actually does not exist, and that as such I could not insure the dog in my name. Of course we know I can, but do I have to tell him that I have made myself the registered keeper? Otherwise, potentially appear as sneaky if he brings charges later...?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for the previous answer - perfect. So he would be told he has to pursue it legally and cannot "steal" the dog back.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Other than that, he has been told that the situation must be resolved to ensure the dog's welfare from a financial position and that he needs to reach out to me to discuss urgently. He has not, and may not do so, but I have not told him I then took the keepership.

Its really a matter for you if you tell him or not. As I stated earlier I would be minded to simply ignore him now. If you dont contact him I wonder whether he'll contact you going forward. I hope this makes sense and please rate 5 stars

Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 36308
Experience: Barrister at Self Employed Barrister
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Customer: replied 6 months ago.
absolutely. That is what I will do if you believe that to be the best way forward rather than making sure he knows steps I have taken.
Thank you very much for your help!

My absolute pleasure