Can the previous owner claim a dog that we have cared for for 7 months?

We found a dog we assumed abandoned on the side of the road 7 months ago. She had no collar and no tag. She ran away last week and we posted flyers for her. When she was returned to us she had new tags with a different name and phone number. When we called the number the people claimed she was their dog. They called the police who said he could not force us to give the dog to them but that they could take us to court. Could we lose our dog?

Asked on July 10, 2012 under Business Law, West Virginia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, I think that you could.  If they can prove that he was their dog and that he was just lost then a court could order the dog be returned.   I know that it may indeed be a difficult thing to come to terms with and that you have grown attached to the dog.  I think, though, that they may feel the same way.  If you think that the dog was abandoned or abused then make a case for not returning it to them.  Good luck.

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