My daughter left her dog with me 2 and a half years ago, and now she wants the dog back,while she lived with me prior for four years and didn't have time or patience for the dog I took care of the dog and became attached and dog is content.do I have to give the dog back?
You can refuse to return the dog at which point she can file what is known as a replevin action in the JP Court. You could also proactively file an action in the Court to obtain "title" to the dog. A dog is essentially personal property and after a year would have been deemed abandoned under the Code.
If a replevin action is filed, be sure to file a counterclaim for the costs of care for the dog for 2.5 years which are likely to be fairly substantial. Bear in mind that many threats are made to sue for return of a pet, but few suits are filed. As a practical matter, ask daughter if she is ready to square up with you before getting dog back. Her appetite for return of the dog may diminish once the realization of the cost involves sinks in.
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 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.
Your daughter can certainly bring a replevin action. However, such threats are usually a bluff - particularly when, in addition to filing fees, etc., the "owners" realize they face a counter-claim for the costs of caring for what they claim is their animal all that time.
Document all your costs in anticipation of producing them for such a counterclaim.
The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Those seeking such a relationship are directed to the contact form on my website.
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