How can I get my dogs back from my ex-girlfriend?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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How can I get my dogs back from my ex-girlfriend?

My ex-girlfriend and I broke up about 10 weeks ago. I came to Texas as that is where I’m from originally and I had to take the bus for fininacial reasons. It was at her request that I left. I have travel plans that I cannot cancel to go back to California and collect them but she is refusing to give them up. They are microchipped. The microchip paperwork has my name on it and she is not even listed as an emergency contact at this point. I have already changed the information

with the microchip reflect both my addres and phone number here. She is not working; she lives with her mother. She told me if I show up to her mother’s home on the date and time I am expected I will be charged with trespassing. The male dog is a rescure from the north side

animal shelter and I have his impound number if needed. I really need this resolved before I get there as between the travel expenses, plus the 3 unpaid days that I’m taking off work, it’s costing me about $1300. What can I do or am I SOL?

Asked on October 30, 2016 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if they are yours (and you can prove it, as you evidently can), you are entitled to their return. Unfortunately, the only legal way to get back property held by another is via a lawsuit--the police will not help you without you first getting a court order that the dogs are yours. Lawsuits generally take months; it may be possible to bring the action on an "emergent," or urgent or emergency, basis, to get a court order faster, but if I understand you correctly that she and the dogs are in a different state, you will likely beed yo bring the action in her local state, which could necessitate a separate or additional state. (Based on the location of the defendant--her--and the property--the dogs--it would be the court near her that has jurisdiction, or power over, this case.) There may be no practical way, under the circumstances you describe, to recover the dogs.

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