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james bruce
james bruce, Solicitor-Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  Owner at James Bruce Solicitors
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I have a query regarding a dog. My son’s girlfriend left her

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I have a query regarding a dog. My son’s girlfriend left her dog in my care for 1 night. The following day as I was driving to her home with the dog, my son rang and said that his girlfriend was unwell and asked if I could keep the dog for another day. I agreed. The following day, the young woman was arrested and detained. She has been held on remand ever since. (Roughly around 12 weeks). I have been caring for the dog, paying her food and veterinary bills. At no point has this young woman contacted me to discuss or check on the dog. She has contacted my son and told him that she is due to be bailed within the next few days and has said that she wants the dog back. She owned the dog for two weeks before being remanded and we have had her for in excess of 12 weeks. Do I have to give the dog back to her? As far as I am concerned she abandoned her dog.
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: scotland
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: nothing as yet.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: prior to this young woman being remanded, she had the dog for a few weeks. The dog was not taken out for walks and was living in terrible conditions. The home was in a state of total disarray and covered in dog filth. After she was remanded, I had to take the dog to the vets for treatment for an infection and I paid for her treatment. She had eaten a number of objects which she had found lying around the home, including paper clips, stones etc.

Hello, I hope you are well. My name is***** am a solicitor advocate and I will be assisting you with your question today. I am very sorry to hear of the problem you are experiencing and I will do my best to help you with this matter.

sorry to hea what has happened.

No you do not have the right to keep the dog, it is not yours to keep. The dog was not abandoned, the owner was in prison, not her choice.

If you did not want to look after the dog, then you could have called the REPCA or a local dog charity to give it to them. You chose to look after it, sorry but she is entitled to her dog back. You,can charge her for food, vets bills etc.

Can I assist or clarify anything further?
Thank you for using Just Answer and for allowing me to assist you with your legal enquiry. I am pleased I was able to be of assistance. Please do not hesitate to come back to me for further advice on this or any other legal matter. It will be my pleasure to be able to assist you again.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
The SSPCA told me the day following her detention that having seen the conditions that the dog was being kept in, had I not had the dog in my possession, they would have taken steps to remove her. They told me not to give the dog back to the young woman. They said that they wanted to talk with her and see if she would agree to sign the dog over to them or if I was willing to keep her, to me. I also contacted shelters at the time to ask for advice and was told they did not have the capacity to take in another dog. I had no choice but to keep her. The family have obviously bonded with her now.

I understand the dog her become attached, but the agency has no legal power to tell you,not to give it back. Only a court can do that.

Customer: replied 8 days ago.
Oh dear. I spoke to the SSPCA today and they said I should take legal action to secure ownership. So, there is no way I can fight this?
Customer: replied 8 days ago.
If I don’t give the dog back, would it be a civil dispute or a criminal one?

Only at court.
You could give the person a bill for the cost of the food and. Era bills etc and say she needs to settle that before considering having the dog back. Also advice her youmhave spoken to the agency and they don’t want her to have the dog back and would take acting against her if she does, that might focus her mind and leave the dog with you where it is happy.

Keeping someone’s dog can be seen as theft.

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