I Asked my Ex to Watch my Dog Now she Refuses to Give Him Back, What Can I Do?

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“I asked my X-girlfriend to watch my dog for a few weeks and now she has refused to give him back, are there any laws pertaining to a situation like this? Perhaps animal theft or kidnapping of a animal?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Under most state laws, pets are considered personal property. It may not technically be considered “theft” (depending on your state law it might be called a form of “embezzlement”, “fraudulent appropriation,” or “unlawful conversion”). In any event, it is a crime and you should go down to your local police station and report it. They can take your statement and may be able to help you retrieve your dog quickly. You may be required to show some proof of ownership (records from your vet, licensing fee receipts, etc.). Depending on the value of the dog, such a theft could even rise to the level of a felony, so this could turn very serious very quickly.

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Author: Ray Everett-Church, Esq.

Ray Everett-Church is a privacy and security consultant with PrivacyClue LLC and is co-author of "Internet Privacy for Dummies"

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