How can I get my dog back?
2 attorney answers
You will need to file an action for replevin in the jurisdiction where the dog is located against the possessor of the dog. Typically, those who take title to property from a thief, cannot successfully defend an action from the true former owner whose rights are superior. (The thief could not surrender ownership they did not possess to the rescue.) You may consider approaching the persons who adopted the dog and explain the unfortunate series of events and see if they will consider relinquishing the dog to you and volunteer to repay them for the rehoming fee and care of your dog.
Law enforcement rarely will get involved in ownership disputes regarding personal property which is considered a civil matter although you should file a report regarding the theft.
Any answer provided on the AVVO website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice for your specific situation. You should always seek legal advice before taking, or failing to take, any action which may affect your future rights. Your local Legal Aid office may well provide information or access to free legal advice and your state bar organization may provide referrals to reputable attorneys who will provide advice on a reduced cost basis.
I guess I have a lot of questions. How did this person come into possession of your dog? How were you communicating with her? Why did she give it to a shelter, knowing that you were looking for it?
If you have communications with this person, you know where she lives, and you can prove that she stole your dog, have you called the police in the jurisdiction where she lives?