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ADVICE NEEDED: Original owner wants dog back

Discussion in 'Legal Information for Dog owners' started by Puglover89, Mar 16, 2019.

  1. Puglover89

    Puglover89 New Member Registered

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    Hello,

    I'd like to get some advice. My partner - let's call him John - has looked after a wonderful pug - let's call her Daisy - for nearly 2 years. Daisy previously belonged to his now 10 year old niece - let's call her Jennifer - and Daisy was originally given to her as a birthday present by her dad. Jennifer's mum and dad are not together but Jennifer resides with her mother - let's call her Sandy - and Daisy originally lived with Sandy and Jennifer (and another baby/toddler) for the first 2.5 years of her life.

    It came to a point where Sandy could no longer look after Daisy and was going to give her away, but then John stepped in and took Daisy under his wing.

    John and Sandy do not see eye to eye and have a very rocky relationship. It's been a terrible start to the year for them both and now Sandy is demanding to have Daisy back.

    However...

    1. Sandy has a history of giving away pets. Daisy is the second dog she has given up on and some cats in the past as well, I think about two. If Sandy gets her back, what's to say she won't give up on her again?

    2. When Daisy was under Sandy's care, she was not fed a proper diet and was rarely taken out for walks which in turn caused her to be overweight (there is photographic evidence of this). Sandy has admitted that both her children fed Daisy anything and everything - including chocolate. When John confronted her about this Sandy's response was "well I can't keep an eye on them all the time". Which fine, you can't, but as a parent who is responsible for two children and a dog surely it's her duty to make sure she teaches her children how to treat pets!

    3. In the 2.5 years Sandy had Daisy she only took her to the vet once, and Daisy's microchip is registered to an address Sandy no longer lives at. John has asked for the official paperwork to be done so that Daisy could be 100% signed over to him but Sandy has not done so, and so we are of the impression that we are unable to change her microchip details without this.

    4. Daisy is a pug, and I believe Sandy has done no research on how to look after a pug as the walking equipment she bought for Dolly was a buckle collar and a lead, rather than a clasp collar and a harness, which we still have but obviously do not use (John has bought her a harness and I bought her a clasp collar).

    5. John asked Sandy to pay back some money she borrowed from him. She went off the radar for 9 whole months - not a single text asking how Daisy was, if the children could come over and see her etc. This has left me to think that Daisy was easily forgotten about and she has no love nor care for her either, just when it suits.

    5. Sandy has never contributed to the upkeep of Daisy; she has not paid towards any of her vet bills or food.

    6. John and I recently went away for the weekend and so Sandy looked after Daisy for a few days. When Daisy returned she was smelly, ill and went off her food - even sick a number of times - and John had to take her to to vet a week later when she did not improve after being fed soft food from the vets designed to help with the digestive system. Daisy received an anti-inflammatory and anti-sickness injection. Whether Daisy was fed something she shouldn't have eaten round Sandy's I don't know, but it seems very coincidental especially given Sandy's earlier comments regarding food.

    7. Also, when Daisy was under Sandy's care, Daisy was always put in a cage when no-one was in the house and also went to bed in the cage too, so she doesn't always have a lot of freedom.

    We understand Sandy/Jennifer are technically Daisy's owners but Daisy has lived with John for nearly 2 years, she has lost weight and is now a healthy size, she's fed a proper and regular diet and taken out for walks, has the right walking equipment, is taken to the vets whenever she needs to go, John and I have paid for toys/jumpers for the winter/bedding, has baths when she needs them, and there is always someone around to look after her. John has never stopped Jennifer from seeing Daisy either and he has told Sandy that Jennifer is welcome to visit Daisy whenever she likes, but no arrangements have ever been made. Daisy has a much better quality of life under John's care but apparently Sandy is threatening to go legal. Given the above, what chance does John have of keeping her?

    Thanks for reading, your honesty is very important!
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
  2. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    Not sure where you are but Id call her bluff. See if she goes down that legal path if she is as careless with pets as you say its not likely she will bother.

    Your case is simple the dog was to be given awayor sold on any emails or text messages you have from that time would be helpful. Your partner offered to take the dog /was there talk of a time span for this babysitting or was it a 'here you are take her' ? Since you and your partner have had the dog how much has the owner contributed to her welfare ie; food, toys products vet care etc because that is the counter because all inclusive kenneling isnt cheap.

    If you fight you at least have a 50/50 chance of winning ..
     
    leashedForLife likes this.
  3. Puglover89

    Puglover89 New Member Registered

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    Thank you for your reply I really appreciate it. We reside in Essex - I did suggest to John that maybe she is threatening legal action in the hopes he'd just hand her over but John says she is not bluffing. I'm not sure about any text messages regarding Daisy's new ownership - John and I weren't together when John received her - but I don't believe there was any mention of Sandy possibly taking her back. As I said John did ask Sandy to do the paperwork and officially hand her over, but Sandy just never did it. Sandy has contributed £0.00 to Daisy's upkeep.
     
    leashedForLife likes this.
  4. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Legally I doubt you could do much, but hopefully you have kept receipts for everything. What I would do if it were me is have John total up the cost of vet bills and purchases (photocopy receipts if you have them) and say to Sandy that before he hands Daisy back, he wants reimbursement for these costs plus the cost of boarding her dog for the last (almost) 2 years. The average cost of boarding kennels is apparently £17.35 a day according to Google. So, say 650 days at £17.35 is over £11000. I doubt she will be so keen.
     
  5. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    What a horrible situation. When John was originally given Daisy, what was said then? Did Sandy say she was giving him Daisy, or that he could look after Daisy for a while?

    Would you be in a position to offer to officially buy Daisy now, and could the temptation of money mean that Jennifer and Sandy decide they don't want her back after all? If so, this time, of course, you should get something in writing.

    I don't know the legal position, but I know @JoanneF has recommended a solicitor a few times, so I've tagged her here. Of course, if you did go through the courts it could prove to be more expensive than however much Sandy would accept as payment.

    Good luck.

    ETA - cross-posted with Joanne!
     
    leashedForLife likes this.
  6. Puglover89

    Puglover89 New Member Registered

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    Thank you Joanne, sounds like a smart idea. I'm not sure if he has receipts but I'm sure the vets will have everything on file plus her food, toys, bedding etc was all bought online.
     
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  7. Puglover89

    Puglover89 New Member Registered

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    Thanks Judy, appreciate your help. I'm not sure what was said when Daisy was handed over as John and I weren't together at the time, I'd have to ask. Personally I'd be more than happy to pay for Daisy if this was an offer Sandy would accept.
     
    leashedForLife likes this.
  8. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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  9. Ari_RR

    Ari_RR Well-Known Member Registered

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    I just wonder - what proves Sandy’s ownership of the dog in the first place here?
     
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  10. Puglover89

    Puglover89 New Member Registered

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    what do you mean? in the sense that Jennifer's dad was the one that bought Daisy for his daughter?
     
  11. Ari_RR

    Ari_RR Well-Known Member Registered

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    Well, right or wrong, but from legal standpoint dogs are property. If order to claim ownership in court - there ought to be legally acceptable proof of it. Does it exist?
     
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  12. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    That's a thought - possibly Daisy legally belongs to Jennifer's dad which could mean that Sandy has no grounds on which to claim her. I'm not saying a court would necessarily see it like that though.
     
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  13. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    That might be a risky tactic. If that's the case, it could perhaps be argued that Jennifer's dad gifted Daisy to Jennifer so Daisy should be returned to her.
     
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  14. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Jennifer is too young to buy a dog, and also in the law too young to be responsible for it: Pets and the law | Legal Choices But again, there could be a grey area - if the dog is officially hers, then the parent she lives with could be the person who has the legal responsibility even if she doesn't legally own the dog.

    But I am speculating, and there's probably a lot of grey areas where a court could go either way.
     
  15. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Fair point - I am guessing too, it just seemed a potentially risky move.
     
  16. JudyN

    JudyN Well-Known Member Registered

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    Yes, it was more 'this might be the case' rather than 'you should do this'. In my defence, that's why I prefixed it with 'possibly'!
     
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