What are my options regarding gettinga stolen pet back if I have proof?

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What are my options regarding gettinga stolen pet back if I have proof?

My pet snake was stolen from my home on or about a month ago. I was out of town and I live with my grandfather. We had a “roommate” and she was moving her things out and brought one of her friends who came in my room. Along with various other items, theystole my snake. Now the other items I am not as worried about I would just like my snake back. She has denied multiple times when questioned about stealing it, but then today, I received a phone call from a friend who told me that the snake has been seen at the person’s home (in a container that was also stolen from me). I sent pictures just to be sure it wasn’t a snake that looked similar and he verified that it was in fact my snake. The same person also told me about he the person who stole it has been “bragging” about stealing the snake from me (by my name). I know the person’s full name, date of birth, most recent workplace, and the city that she lives in. Is there anything that law enforcement will do at this point to get my snake returned home? I was told to go to the police department and talk to someone there but I would like to know if they will actually be able to do anything about it before I go down there to possibly just waste my time. I have pictures of the snake on my laptop and cell phone to prove it is mine. I also have the person who bought it for me, along with the person it was bought from, who can verify this was my pet. Please tell me my options for this situation; I miss my pet dearly and it was very special to me since it was a birthday gift from my boyfriend.

Asked on February 4, 2011 under Criminal Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to report the items as stolen to the police as soon as you can to establish ownership of the pet.  Once you establish ownership then you can bring an action civilly against the person or persons that stole the snake.  And name the person who has it as well as the former roommate in both the civil and criminal complaint. Now, you need to establish for the court that it is yours.  Get a copy of the bill of sale.  You will need to bring those witnesses with you to court when you need them so it is good that the are available to help you.  You may also want to have them prepare affidavits and have them notarized stating the facts and the transaction in case they are unavailable the dayof the hearing in Court.  Check and see what court you can bring it in.  Sometimes small claims court can not order "equitable relief" such as injunctions, etc. so just be sure of this before you start the action.  Good luck.


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