What are my ownership rights regarding a dog that I rescued from a kennel?

UPDATED: Aug 7, 2011

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What are my ownership rights regarding a dog that I rescued from a kennel?

I have a dog that I rescued from a kennel that I was working at last October. I have had this dog since then due to the owner being in a situation where she ended up a family assisted living program. This owner has made very little contact with me since me taking care of this dog and has not given me any money toward food, grooming, or vet bills. The owner was just pulled over and given a OWI plus had her 4 year old son in the front seat with no seat belt on. This morning she texted me asking if she could come and pick up the dog. I do not want to give her the dog because she is only working 1 day a week, living free off of some friends and can not give the dog the life this dog has now been accustomed to living. The dog is going to be due for vaccinations in a month and should be spayed. The dog is now 4 years old. How do I pursue keeping this dog or finding it a home that will be able to really take care of it?

Asked on August 7, 2011 Wisconsin


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

When you rescued this dog from the kennel you were working at last October, were you given "adoption papers" by the kennel stating that you were now the animal's owner?

If you have paper's showing that you are now the dog's owner, the dog is yours and you do not have to let the fomer owner have any contact with it let alone possession.

However, if the kennel never issued you "adoption papers" for this animal, then you really are not its owner. The issue is whether the person claiming to be this animal's owner is actually its owner or not? Meaning, does the claimed owner have any paper work proving that she is this animal's owner?

If she does not, then you do not have to give her possession of the animal. If you have "adoption papers" for this animal where it is yours, then you do not have to give the animal up.

Good luck.

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