Can I sue my ex-wife for getting rid of my pet rabbits?

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Can I sue my ex-wife for getting rid of my pet rabbits?

My ex and I had pet rabbits. When we split we figured wed leave them where they were because they’re pretty old and get stressed out easily. The deal was that I would keep buying their supplies and they would stay with her. We never discussed that in the divorce but she got the apartment and everything in it. I got the house in the burbs and everything in that. I have cc records showing all the stuff I bought for them even after the divorce. Then she decided she didn’t want them anymore, so she gave them to a kill shelter. The shelter says that they’ve been taken in by a rescue shelter and can’t give me the name of it. I’m going to get vet records from when I got them spayed. My name should be on them. So do I have a case here or does the divorce agreement give her the right to do such a horrible thing? She knew all it would take was a text and I’d come get them.

Asked on April 19, 2018 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

She did not have the right to do this, but unfortunately, the law does not have a very good remedy or recourse for you. Pets are considered simply property, and only their economic value, not their emotional or sentimental value, is considered by the law. If you cannot recover your rabbits, all you can sue your ex for is the economic value or cost of the rabbits (and any costs your provably incurred in trying to get them back), which is not likely to be enough to justify the cost and trouble of a lawsuit.


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