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Geordie Duckler

Geordie Duckler’s Answers

29 total

  • How to obtain ownership of an animal?

    If someone gives you a animal to board until they get their own place and they don't do wellness checkups or supply you with anything for the pet. If you go and get the pet chipped and get all it's shots done, legally can you claim ownership over ...

    Geordie’s Answer

    Every state has some code section that deems dogs "personal properties", so simply telling you they are "property" doesn't say much and doesn't answer your actual questions at all - it simply sets out one of the basic ground rules that no one was likely arguing with anyway. What is more important to know is that, as to owning any personal property, the QUALITY of a person's conduct regarding the property makes a larger difference than the QUANTITY, such as the mere passage of time. One of the incidents of ownership is the right to allow others to use the property or, conversely, to exclude them from doing so. So owners of personal properties have to both exhibit, and defend a right to, the "possession, use, and control" , of the property they claim to own, regardless of how long.

    As to determining (and eventually proving) who really "owns" any specific dog, it is true that the law looks to many normal property distribution rules about "gifts", "sales", "loans", and "bailments". Dogs, however, are weird - they are unusual personal properties in that common sale and loan markets, standard business regulations, official titles, formal government registrations, standard bills of sale, legal deeds, and similar type ownership papers, simply do not regularly exist about them.

    As to most properties – personal or real – socially and legally approved documents indicate who owner is. Primarily, they possess a title (with a car), a deed (with a house), or a receipt (with a purchased good) which tends to show exchange of the object for consideration, an exchange memorialized via a formal officially-recognized document. In distinction, no such document goes along with ownership of a dog as far as the common law is concerned. The putative owner may have in hand a purchase invoice from Petco, a vet record from an animal hospital, an AKC registration paper, a blue ribbon from a dog show, a photograph of him delivering the puppy from the mother, or any number of papers that seem to indicate exclusive possession – but none are dispositive of ownership legally, they are all merely indicia of ownership.

    Under the common law the most well reasoned test is that it is a person's “current actions and activities” with the dog, not any particular legal document alone about the animal, that determine true ownership. Caselaw recognizes that the person who takes on both the burdens and the benefits of the dog and hold themselves out to the world as to the "good and the bad" about doing so - that is accepts the privileges AND the obligations of having to care for an animal - are usually considered the true owner. This "current actions and activity" test tends to reduce the importance of a person's status or position, and increase the importance of their conduct. It is for this reason that, in most jurisdictions, omissions such as failures to obtain a license, or to have implanted a microchip, or to have saved a receipt, have only limited effect upon a court hashing out an ownership dispute. It is also the reason that ownership of animal offspring tends to follows ownership of the animal itself under the common law maxim “partus sequitur ventrem”; the rule that, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, the offspring of a domestic animal "belongs" to the owner of the parent, which is mostly a reflection of the actions and activities test trumping standard property conveyance rules.

    All this means that the answers to your two questions are more complicated than simply "Yes, you can claim ownership over the animal since its been with you a month" or "No, they can't get it back". Who has been doing what with the dog, has a lien been asserted or not, why did you get the animal microchipped or vaccinated, and who had whose permission or awareness that it was okay to do any of those things, are all inquiries whose answers will make a significant difference to the actual answers to your questions. Being interviewed by a lawyer will help figure it all out.

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  • 30 day late fee of 125% charged by Humane Society which handles dog licensing for City--they share the revenues-Is fee legal?

    I received annual dog license renewal statement in the amount of $16.51. Bill stated only that late fees will apply if paid 30 days past renewal date. Next bill I rec'd included a late renewal charge of $20.69, for a total of 37.20, more than doub...

    Geordie’s Answer

    Your timing is spot on: I just interviewed yesterday with CNN reporters on their research on an expose' news piece on exactly this problem: local animal control agencies in southern CA overcharging for license fees. Please call CNN reporter Melanie Hicken at (347) 802-5686 and tell her your exact circumstances and she may have some more detailed information for you about what is being done by others or the agencies on the issue.

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  • In Maricopa County, AZ, what would my liability be if a dog I was watching went missing from the back yard and was found dead?

    I did NOT let the dog out, and there are several reports of coyotes in the area. Also, owls and hawks. The owners feel I was negligent.

    Geordie’s Answer

    Your question really involves the legal area of “bailment”, which occurs with the delivery of an object of a personal nature by one party to another to be held by the other according to the purpose of the delivery and to be returned when the purpose has been accomplished. Here, you are the bailee who is given physical custody and control of a dog while the bailor, the dog's owner, retains legal ownership.

    A bailment is always created when one leaves an animal in another’s care, and in such circumstances you as the bailee becomes liable for any breach of the bailment arrangement if the animal is injured while in your care due to your negligence. Most courts recognize a presumption in favor of the bailor wherein animals which are returned damaged are presumed to have been damaged as a result of the negligence of the bailee. A lot will hinge on the terms discussed between you and the dog owner and the level of care or responsibility you provided as to care and maintenance of the animal. Just because you did not actively let the dog out does not mean that you are off the hook legally - a lot depends on what circumstances allowed the dog to get out and whether those were conditions that you were in control of or not.

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  • Can I fire an employee after giving them one notice if they are abusing our animals?

    I have an employee that is hitting our animals. We have 300 dairy cattle. I have not witnessed them hitting the animals, but I have 3 of their co-workers who have reported this to me. Can I just fire them or should I give them a final notice? With...

    Geordie’s Answer

    Since animal abuse is a crime in every state in the Union (and is a felony in most), then it would seem to be as good a cause as any to fire an employee on the basis that they are likely engaging in criminal conduct, usually a pretty big no-no in any workplace. While there may be other facts to this scenario which could change this approach, and while you could provide notice first if you wished to (and also simply or additionally report the activity as an actual suspected crime to a local law enforcement agency), termination outright appears to be justified.
    I have extensive experience in every manner of animal law case imaginable, civil and criminal. I always promptly and thoroughly investigate each claim to assess fault and damages, and I possess a remarkable and comprehensive understanding of the various details of every state and federal law on animal related issues. Having handled tens of thousands of cases over 27 years as a trial lawyer, I am sensitive to the fact that those affected by animals are often burdened financially as well as physically and emotionally, and I will often provide free initial consultations to potential clients to determine what might best be done about a specific claim or case. Should you have experienced a serious legal issue due to the involvement of an animal, please give me a call at (503) 546-8052 or send me an e-mail at geordied@animallawpractice.com to discuss your rights and possible solutions for your problems.

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  • How do I get my dog back?

    My in-laws purchased a purebred German Shepard for my wife and I. They decided they wanted to keep the dog after a year. They're saying that since they paid for it they own it.We have a statement from the breeder with my wife and I named as the o...

    Geordie’s Answer

    The determination of the true owner of the dog would likely depend on what the specific agreement was between your inlaws and you and how that agreement was memorialized. Every state recognizes oral agreements for the purchase of personal property, so it isn't necessarily required to have been in writing - but it is required that you had a pretty clear agreement about who was going to own it. A thorough interview of you for the relevant facts about the discussion would likely reveal who will most probably prevail in the ownership dispute.
    I have extensive experience in every manner of animal law case imaginable, civil and criminal. I always promptly and thoroughly investigate each claim to assess fault and damages, and I possess a remarkable and comprehensive understanding of the various details of every state and federal law on animal related issues. Having handled tens of thousands of cases over 27 years as a trial lawyer, I am sensitive to the fact that those affected by animals are often burdened financially as well as physically and emotionally, and I will often provide free initial consultations to potential clients to determine what might best be done about a specific claim or case. Should you have experienced a serious legal issue due to the involvement of an animal, please give me a call at (503) 546-8052 or send me an e-mail at geordied@animallawpractice.com to discuss your rights and possible solutions for your problems.

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  • At what point is this MY cat?

    A year and a half ago, my neighbor asked me to look after his cat for a while. I was reluctant to do so because I didn't want to get attached to it and have to give him back so I asked for how long. He assured me that it was only for a month or tw...

    Geordie’s Answer

    Dogs and cats are deemed personal properties under every state law. As to ownership of personal properties in general, the generic rule is that one of the incidents of such ownership is the right to invite other persons to use the property or, conversely, to exclude them from doing so. Just as the ownership of an automobile implies the right of possession and control so does the ownership of a dog or cat. As to proving ownership of dogs and cats as distinct to doing so with cars, proof operates according to normal property distribution rules.
    Dogs and cats, however, are unusual personal properties in that common markets, business regulations, titles, registrations, bills of sale, and related ownership papers do not either regularly or normally exist for them. Ownership rules as to dogs specifically form a web of tangled common law propositions in flux among various jurisdictions.

    As to most properties – personal or real – socially and legally approved documents indicate just who owner is. Primarily, owners of properties possess a title (as with a car), a deed (as with a house), or a receipt (as with a purchased good) which founds ownership rights in the exchange of the object for consideration by way of a formal document. In distinction, no formal document goes along with ownership of a dog as far as the common law is concerned. The putative owner may have in hand a purchase invoice from Petco, a vet record from an animal hospital, an AKC registration paper, a blue ribbon from a dog show, a photograph of him delivering the puppy from the mother at its whelping, or any number of papers that seem to indicate exclusive possession – but none are dispositive of ownership legally, they are all merely indicia of ownership.

    Under the common law the most well reasoned test primarily appears to be that for a party’s “current actions and activities” with the pet, not legal documents alone about the pet, that determine true pet ownership
    The person who takes on both the burdens and the benefits of the pet and hold themselves out to the world are usually considered the pet’s true owner. The current actions and activity test tends to reduce the importance of human status or position and it increases the importance of human and animal conduct. By the way, in most jurisdictions, the failure to obtain a license has no effect upon true title to the animal under the license.

    Finally, ownership of the offspring of animals follows the ownership of the animal as the property itself under the common law maxim “partus sequitur ventrem”, Therefore, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, the offspring of a domestic animal belong to the owner of the dam.

    I have extensive experience in every manner of animal law case imaginable, civil and criminal. I always promptly and thoroughly investigate each claim to assess fault and damages, and I possess a remarkable and comprehensive understanding of the various details of every state and federal law on animal related issues. Having handled tens of thousands of cases over 27 years as a trial lawyer, I am sensitive to the fact that those affected by animals are often burdened financially as well as physically and emotionally.

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  • Does my new landlord have the right to deny my application because my service dog is a pitbull

    Want to take an apt but was denied because my service dog is a pitbull

    Geordie’s Answer

    Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101, a privately owned business that serves the public such as a restaurant is prohibited from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. The ADA requires such businesses to allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed. The ADA defines a service animal as a dog individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, such dogs are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.

    ADA service animals are any dog which performs some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. While guide dogs are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind and the type of service animal with which most people are familiar, many other types exist as well. Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If the restaurant owner is not certain that an animal is a service animal, he may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability. Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, the restaurant owner may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.

    The service animal must be permitted to accompany the individual with a disability to all areas of the facility where customers are normally allowed to go. An individual with a service animal may not be segregated from other customers. Even if the restaurant has a clearly posted "no pets" sign or policy, a service animal is not a pet and the ADA requires the restaurant owner to modify any "no pets" policy to allow the use of a service animal by a person with a disability. This does not mean the restaurant owner must abandon a "no pets" policy altogether, but simply must make an exception for service animals.

    Even if a county health department has informed the restaurant that only a guide dog may be admitted, the business is still violating the ADA if it refuses to admit any other type of service animal on the basis of local health department regulations or other state or local laws. The ADA provides greater protection for individuals with disabilities and so it takes priority over the local or state laws or regulations. The restaurant cannot charge a maintenance or cleaning fee for customers who bring service animals into the restaurant. Neither a deposit nor a surcharge may be imposed on an individual with a disability as a condition to allowing a service animal to accompany the individual with a disability, even if deposits are routinely required for pets. However, a public accommodation may charge its customers with disabilities if a service animal causes damage so long as it is the regular practice of the entity to charge non-disabled customers for the same types of damages.

    The care or supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of his or her owner. The restaurant owner is not required to provide care or food or a special location for the animal, and may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from the restaurant when that animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other guests or customers may be excluded. The restaurant owner may not make assumptions, however, about how a part

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  • Can I Sue a lady for selling me a sick puppy and lying about breed???

    I bought a puppy off over varage sale.com from a lady who lied to me about breed and he had parvo... have proof of all this

    Geordie’s Answer

    This involves the area of contract law. Any sale of an animal in which the result of the sale ends with the buyer receiving a damaged or defective animal entitles the buyer to one of three remedies: money damages for the breach of the agreement, recession of the agreement so that the deal is “unwound” and the parties are put back in their original positions, or specific performance where the seller is compelled to complete the actual deal and get the buyer what they truly paid for.

    All of this can be enforced through an actions for breach of contract which require the pleading of facts demonstrating substantial performance on the part of the complaining party. As to damages, the buyer can be entitled to be reimbursed for the total expenses incurred in repairing, not replacing, the damaged animal. Most animals kept for companionship have no calculable market value beyond the subjective value of the animal to its owner, and that value arises purely as the result of their relationship and the length and strength of the owner's attachment to the animal. In that sense then, a household pet is not like other fungible or disposable property, intended solely to be used and replaced after it has outlived its usefulness. It is purely a matter of good sense that a defendant be required to “make good the injury done” as the result of their negligence by reimbursing the plaintiff for the necessary and reasonable expenses he or she incurred to restore the pet to its condition before the incident.

    Therefore, when an injured pet with no discernable market value is restored to its previous health, the measure of damages for tortuous damage to the pet as personal property may include, but is not limited to, the reasonable and customary cost of necessary veterinary care and treatment.

    Know also that many states have consumer protection statutes that even provide special remedies, including penalties and attorney fees, to victims of fraudulent sellers of goods, including of animals.

    I have extensive experience in every manner of animal law case imaginable, civil and criminal. I always promptly and thoroughly investigate each claim to assess fault and damages, and I possess a remarkable and comprehensive understanding of the various details of every state and federal law on animal related issues. Having handled tens of thousands of cases over 27 years as a trial lawyer, I am sensitive to the fact that those affected by animals are often burdened financially as well as physically and emotionally, and I will often provide free initial consultations to potential clients to determine what might best be done about a specific claim or case. Should you have experienced a serious legal issue due to the involvement of an animal, please give me a call at (503) 546-8052 or send me an e-mail at geordied@animallawpractice.com to discuss your rights and possible solutions for your problems.

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  • Can I file suit against my vet?

    We took our cat in to be spayed on Thursday. That afternoon she was released. When we got home she couldn't stand or walk. Took her back he kept her overnight. This morning shes blind and not having bowl movements or urinating. Now being told ...

    Geordie’s Answer

    The liability of a veterinarian for doing something wrong, like that of other professionals, is determined under a fault-based system. A veterinarian will not be held legally responsible simply because there was some unfavorable result of his or her medical treatment of an animal. There must be proof that the vet engaged in some manner of carelessness, “negligence”, where he or she failed to fulfill a duty to you as their client and where their negligent conduct was the actual cause of your animal’s harm.

    This last element is also called “the standard of care”, which comprises the legal principle by which the court and jury determine whether a professional’s conduct falls below a certain standard established by law for the protection of others against unreasonable risk of harm. The standard of care for veterinarians is somewhat analogous to that established for providers of health care to humans, but there are significant differences that will affect pet owners.

    I have extensive experience in every manner of animal law case imaginable, civil and criminal. I always promptly and thoroughly investigate each claim to assess fault and damages, and I possess a remarkable and comprehensive understanding of the various details of every state and federal law on animal related issues. Having handled tens of thousands of cases over 27 years as a trial lawyer, I am sensitive to the fact that those affected by animals are often burdened financially as well as physically and emotionally, and I will often provide free initial consultations to potential clients to determine what might best be done about a specific claim or case. Should you have experienced a serious legal issue due to the involvement of an animal, please give me a call at (503) 546-8052 or send me an e-mail at geordied@animallawpractice.com to discuss your rights and possible solutions for your problems.

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  • Owners retrieved boarded dog without paying. We were told we might get to keep him. We had him 4 moths and she came and took him

    The dog had clearly been abused and I know and witnessed two occasions the dog had ingested and unknown substance and was sick from it.

    Geordie’s Answer

    This involves the legal area of “bailment”, which occurs with the delivery of an object of a personal nature by one party to another to be held by the other according to the purpose of the delivery and to be returned when the purpose has been accomplished. The bailee is given physical custody and control of the object while the bailor retains legal ownership.

    Bailment is created specifically when one leaves an animal or its components in another’s care, and in such circumstances the bailee is liable for a breach of the bailment arrangement if the animal or its components are injured while in his care. Most courts recognize a presumption in favor of the bailor wherein objects that are returned damaged are presumed to have been damaged as a result of the negligence of the bailee. The fact that specific terms may not have been discussed or conveyed between the parties as to particularities about care of, and viability maintenance for, the animal is non-critical: terms of the bailment may always simply be implied from the circumstances surrounding the relationship.

    I have extensive experience in every manner of animal law case imaginable, civil and criminal. I always promptly and thoroughly investigate each claim to assess fault and damages, and I possess a remarkable and comprehensive understanding of the various details of every state and federal law on animal related issues. Having handled tens of thousands of cases over 27 years as a trial lawyer, I am sensitive to the fact that those affected by animals are often burdened financially as well as physically and emotionally, and I will often provide free initial consultations to potential clients to determine what might best be done about a specific claim or case. Should you have experienced a serious legal issue due to the involvement of an animal, please give me a call at (503) 546-8052 or send me an e-mail at geordied@animallawpractice.com to discuss your rights and possible solutions for your problems.

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