Fiance's mom gifted us with dog after she abused it and was asked to give it up by family...now she wants it back!

Asked 9 months ago - Rochester, NY

Fiance's mom gifted us a dog she owned in summer 2012 after she was witnessed by an ex-b/f and party goers to abuse the animal, and she was asked to give it up by family. She authorized the vet to have us listed as owners, and gave us the rabies cert. Shortly after, there was a dispute on a separate issue, and the mother demanded the dog back. We found that she never had the dog licensed or provided fundamental preventive care, which we did at the time. She called the police several times, who refused to do anything b/c it was a civil matter. The issue was dropped, but more recently she has resumed filing reports about theft of the dog, which in one case led to cops coming to the house, but again stating it was a civil matter. Does the license and vet bills mean we own the dog?

Additional information

This is also part of a case we are trying to make for telephone harassment and filing false reports on this and other issues. We have licenses for the dog in two towns (moved), probably $800 in vet bills aside from food, toys, clothes (yes, ik). Also have the rabies cert, and agreement of the ex b/f to testify to the abuse allegation. She has the purchase records and AKC papers, but never registered the dog. Dog has now been in our possession for about 15 months.

I've also seen one lawyer comment that we can threaten to counter sue for vet bills, but also a $30-50/day boarding fee is she thinks she wants to take us to court over the dog. Would a court really award us $13,500 to $22,500 for boarding? Even if we win, or court never happens, can we report her for having the dog unlicensed for 6 years?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Eric Edward Rothstein

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If she sues you the fact that she had the vet list you as owner is very strong evidence in your favor.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 17 years. I was... more
  2. Kathryn Mary Holton

    Contributor Level 18

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You have enough proof you are the owner of the dog. This woman sounds extremely unstable. Its probably not worth it to sue her but help the prosecutor file harassment charges and see if you can get a temporary restraining order.

    Providing general answers are meant to help the poster to understand some complex legal concepts and in no way... more
  3. Alan James Brinkmeier

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You might follow up with what the lawyer told you.

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