Can a dog ownership issue be heard in restraining order request hearing?

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Can a dog ownership issue be heard in restraining order request hearing?

Daughter-in-law left her dog with me 2 years ago when I went to manage her business and she moved away with my son, her husband. During this time, some emergencyvet bills were paid by me on her business checks and I paid her  back in cash (dog boarding business). Dog was in my care everyday and night. I trained it (which is why she did not want the dog). Vaccinations, microchip ,license all in my name. When I left the business (she wanted divorce from my son), I took the dog with me. This was 9 months ago. Now she has filed frivolous restraining order saying I was making harassing calls. She akso requests that I return the dog. Can the judge order me to return the dog?

Asked on October 15, 2010 under Business Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Many proceeding allow you to ask for alternative relief in the proceeding.  It does, though, sound a bit odd that this type of proceeding - for protection - allows for a proceeding to determine ownership of a dog. I would say that that portion of the proceeding will probably not be heard.  But it does not mean that she will not bring the action separately at another time and you should be prepared for the matter on the return date of the hearing just in case.   She can probably prove original ownership with a purchase receipt, correct?  Then you are going to have to decide how you want to rebut the presumption of ownership: did she give yo the dog as a gift when she left? She is going to claim that she asked you to watch the dog for her for 2 years.  You are going to have to bring in all the documentation as to ownership and a witness that she gave the dog to you.  Otherwise, it may be a difficult obstacle to overcome.  Good luck 


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