What are my rights if I was asked to watch a friend’s dog because they moved out of state?

UPDATED: Sep 7, 2014

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What are my rights if I was asked to watch a friend’s dog because they moved out of state?

I had the dog for 7 months. I paid almost $650 in vet bills, groomers and other necessities for the dog. They never gave me any money. Now they want to sell the dog. Can I ask for the money I’ve spent and do they have the right to sell the dog?

Asked on September 7, 2014 under Criminal Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

You can ask, but they don't have to do what you want. You agreed to watch the dog, and you volunteered to pay the vet bills, groomer, etc.--you could have refused. Having voluntarily done these things, you do not have a legal right to compensation for them--it would be different had there been an agreement in place under which you would be compensated or reimbursed; if there had been, you could sue (such as in small claims court) to enforce the agreement.

The dog is their dog, and they have the right to sell it or give it away, or do anything else inherently legal with it. You of course could ask that they give or sell the dog to you, if you want it--for example, you could say to them, "if you give me the dog, we'll call it even on the money I spent on it."

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