Who does this dog belong to legally?

by Margaret
(Scotland)

My ex fiance bought me a lovely dog for my birthday last year but when I started college his mother agreed to let the dog come and stay at her house as my dog hated being on its own.

His mother got fed up with the dog a lot and I would end up taking the dog back to stay with me, family members would help with walking the dog and sitting with it when I went to college. Then the dog would end up back at his mothers and my ex fiance would help care for it.

When we broke up the dog was still with his mother. After weeks of him and his sisters harassing me and my aunt, he told me he was going to finish the dog off with a spade over its head.

I asked for the dog back and he willingly brought her out to my house. My ex still continued to plague me with abusive calls and text messages and would use the dog as an excuse to contact me.

When I changed my phone number and he could not contact me he started to harass my aunt, both him and his sisters have been constantly phoning and texting my aunt every weekend.

I realised that emotionally I was not able to give the attention and care that my dog deserved so I found a lovely family who adore the dog and they homed it.

Now my ex and his family have decided they want the dog back, he says as he paid for it the dog was his and that I had no right to give him away.

The dog's new owners refuse to give it up as the dog is settled and happy in its new home and is so gentle with the two children who also adore it.

I have been threatened and told they will take me to court if I don't return it, where do I stand legally in this.

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Ownership of Gifts
by: Pat

The fact that your ex fiance paid for the dog, does not mean it belongs to him, since ownership changed when he gifted the dog to you - a transferring of property interests by gift.

It seems that initially in this case there was a delivery and acceptance of the gift without any conditions attached. Had it been a bottle of perfume, a book or an item of clothing, there would not have been any expectation that the gift may be demanded back and should therefore not be "consumed". Why should a gift of a living creature be treated any differently.

On a subsequent occasion the dog was again handed over willingly - i.e. without undue influence and again without any conditions attached.

Threats made to kill the dog would have evoked an emotional response. The demand now to return the dog, indicates that the giver is fully aware of the emotional attachment to the animal and is using that as emotional leverage for his own gain.


Whilst it is most unpleasant to be threatened with legal action, it is doubtful that any court will hear a case such as this. You could also keep detailed notes of the continued harassment and inform the parties involved that you would lay a charge of harassment should it continue.

Property Rights - very interesting but !
by: Anonymous

The right to do as you think or wish with your property is part of the concept of title which you must prove was your relatives intention when you were given the dog.

Since this was not a contract - you have not given consideration for the dog - it is a gift which should entitle you to right and title of possession unless otherwise stated by your relative at the time of the dog being handed over. He might be able to say he gave it to you for a holiday period or that it really belongs to somebody else (his lil' girl). This would achieve his objective in interfering.

It all sounds reasonable if you can resolve or avoid the dispute factor which will mean a court decision. It sounds reasonable and even moral that you should move a benefit along if it's yours to do so. To me you are sweet and the dog was yours to give away.

Whatever, no matter how much they love and miss the dog the law gives no account to frustration and vexation of being wrong or not mitigating his loss buying another dog perhaps.

I would say he will have a hard time. Though I sympathize with the dog lover, you have implied rights in law. What he did when he found out the dog was not in your control and possession is also a factor you will have to consider. Still what he believes and what his entitlement in law is, are two different issues.

Sorry to be a bit moralistic. Law student hmm.

Reclaiming a Dog - Please Advise
by: tracy

My ex boyfriend gave me a small dog he got from a friend's dad who didn't want him anymore. The dog was a gift for my birthday. About a year and a half went by and we broke up.

My ex was verbally abusive and a non-working alcoholic. He told me that I could leave, but that he was keeping the dog.

Broken-hearted and with nothing to battle with I left. It has been over a year and I still regret not taking him with me.

I know FOR A FACT that the dog has not had ANY yearly check-ups or vaccinations, and he is living in a VERY stressful environment.

I can offer him a safe warm home and can provide excellent healthcare (worked in animal hospitals for a long time).

My question is this: How do I legally get him back home to me? If there is an opportunity for me to take him to get his vaccinations and put him under my name only with my information, is that enough??

Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

Reclaiming my Dog
by: Anonymous

My boyfriend bought me a Beagle dog (Bugle) in June 2009 and we lived together with the dog until we broke up in January 2011.

At that time my boyfriend asked me to leave the home we shared. The Bugle stayed with him and I visited him when he would allow me to take him for weekends.

Recently my ex boyfriend does not allow me to see my dog any longer. So I want to take my dog to live with me now.

In 2009 he paid for the dog (and has credit card receipts to prove it), but my name is on the registration papers from the pet store, 2 vet records and he is licensed to me.

Can I legally take my dog back?

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