If I train dogs and they are in my care until training is over and the owner has paid, can I keep the dog until the client pays the balance?

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If I train dogs and they are in my care until training is over and the owner has paid, can I keep the dog until the client pays the balance?

Asked on November 22, 2014 under Business Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You cannot keep the dog. Dogs are chattel. You would be considered as illegally converting the owner's personal property to yours (i.e., theft, larceny, etc.).  You cannot keep said dog. You can, howver, sue the owner for payment if you were not paid.  If the owner has not paid, you should return the dog and sue for the amount of services in your contract. Your contract's language (what you both agree to as dog training services) will help you determine the amount.


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