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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. So I was contacted last night and this morning from Harley's previous owners. Long story short the wife wants her back and all that jazz. Part of me does not feel comfortable giving her back. Harley is not trained, all her canines are terribly broken and she is underweight. It is my understanding that the dog was always pushed to the side and neglected as they have 4 other dogs. They gave the dog to me for free with the cage as well. What am I supposed to do? What would you do? I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.
 

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Before anything else, get that dog to a veterinarian and have her tested for EPI and other health conditions. IMO, that dog IS skin and bones and it looks like there is something going on there besides or in addition to a lack of food.

You might want to put a call in to your local animal control and explain the situation to them. They can best help you with your local laws.

Do not give that starving dog back to these people.
 

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Honestly, doesn't sound like a very tough decision. Stuck between a rock and a hard place? Why would you even consider it given the condition of the dog when they gave it to you. Sorry for being so strong, I just don't really understand the purpose of this thread.
 

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If you care about this dog.... then NO they wouldn't get her back if I was in your shoes.. based on the condition you say she's in.... why would you think she'd be any better off there now ??...regardless of what they may try to convince you of as far as things being better for her this go around.....the next time life hands them the least tiny little lemon they'll be ready to get rid of her again....next time she may end up in a much worse situation....
 

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I second what MineAreWorkingline said. Definitely contact your local animal control and tell them what's going on. Also print hard copies of any communication you had with the previous owners i.e. emails and texts. And get her into your vet ASAP if you haven't already.



At this point because she was given to you free of charge I'm assuming that you didn't get a "bill of sale"? I would be concerned with them trying to say that she was "stolen" and reporting it to the police.
 

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It's all about legality. Ethically, yes, you should keep the dog. Legally, you don't have any ground to stand on if you don't have a signed owner-surrender contract. If she was given for free the 'wife' could charge you with theft and claim she doesn't know about the dog being given away, as dogs are considered 'property' according to the law.
I once posted this earlier when a AC officer told me that if you have someone else's dog in your possession without the owner's consent, you can/will be charged with theft by the legal owner. This also goes for found dogs. That's why you always need a signed surrender contract, stating the the owner of the dog willingly surrenders 'said dog' (description, breed, age, color etc) and won't have the rights to reclaim the dog after signing of the contract.
And...if you find a dog, in order to legally protect yourself, you have to bring it to a shelter and ask for the first right of refusal if you want to keep that dog if its owner is not re-located within a certain amount of days (but probably will be neutered/spayed). Or, according to our AC, you post this found dog at least 3 different ways so the public can take notice like Facebook, posters, ad in the local paper, reporting it to AC etc. In that case the stray time is 30 days before you can clam the dog as yours (in our county).
After that register the dog for a licence, vet clinic etc. to get your name on its paperwork asap.
Good luck, I hope the dog can stay with you.
 

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Do you have an advertisement indicating that they were rehoming this dog? Did you get a receipt? Transfer of ownership? Anything in writing?
The answers to these questions may be relevant depending on where you live. Any text messages, or phone records may also be useful.
I would not be handing her back, but this is one of the reasons that I get dogs to a vet the instant they are in my possession. It documents condition and proves when I got the dog.
 

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All good suggestions. Personally, I would fight this and not return the dog.

If I were in your place I would get the dog to the vet as soon as possible. Be sure to get wormer and blood tests, and flea and tick and heartworm preventative while you are there. She will need those anyway.

If these people insist they want their dog back, tell them she goes no where until they pay for everything you have spent on the dog while she was in your care. Add up everything, food, toys, treats, collar, leash, whatever. Tell them the dog will go no where until you are paid in full and in cash. I suspect that would back them off fairly quickly.
 

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I'm going to suggest that saying "No" will end it. Try that.
Contact A/C, tell them what is going on, and don't worry too much about being accused of theft. You need A/C on your side to advise the previous owner that if they choose to pursue the matter, they most likely will be facing neglect and abuse charges as well as the removal of the dog by A/C if she refuses to back down.

Like someone else said, get screenshots of any communication done via cell phone. If there was an ad placed, get a copy. CYA
 

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That would be a big fat nope for me. If she wanted her, she shouldn't have given her away. Are these friends of yours? Is there any relationship you want to maintain with them?

As long as you have documentation (emails or texts) of the "transaction", she's yours. Take her to a vet, get a dog license and establish ownership.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Many of you have given solid advice and opinions that I was worried about. My thoughts exactly about not having any “legal documentation” that says the dog was properly transferred. I am worried because the dog does have no training and she is underweight. I did tell the husband where to shove it (town PD or small claims court) and the wife contacted me this morning. In an attempt to get more information and understanding I am conversing with her. She says two of their vets said the weight was nothing to worry about and that she just needed to switch food. The wife assumed it was also the high energy that caused no weight gain. The reason I am stuck is because I have compassion for both the dog and the owner because I put myself in their shoes. She may not have been well informed etc etc. I also want what Is best for the dog. I’ve gotten mixed stories about this family. One side is that the dog was neglected and disfavored by the family, the other side of that is the family adores shepherds and would never neglect and of their dogs and that they are going through a lot of family crisis (sick family members, husband needs surgery).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
They have stated that they would “compensate” for the inconvenience and any expenses. So that won’t scare them off. No has not scared them off either.
 

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Have compassion or not. Either way think long on your decision because chances are if you give her back you ability to help her is likely over. Have you tried calling their vet to see what they have to say about the dogs?
 

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Normally, I'm all for dogs reuniting with their owners, but not in this case. I've got no compassion for the owners because the dog you got "is not trained, all her canines are terribly broken and she is underweight." Don't feel bad about it. If you got a healthy dog, then I would consider returning it. "It is my understanding that the dog was always pushed to the side and neglected as they have 4 other dogs." And, " they are going through a lot of family crisis (sick family members, husband needs surgery.)" These 3 quotes by you alone should be a big fat NO.

My suggestion is to do what everyone else above says. Talk to your local animal control and explain the situation. Have it all documented. Save all emails and text conversations between you and the previous owners. If possible, record future phone calls with them.

Another thing...I don't think you need to be worried about being charged with theft. They gave you the dog's crate too! I don't know but I think that would be a bold move to go into someone's home (with 5 dogs roaming around) and steal one dog AND the crate. How do you do that? I can understand taking a dog from the backyard...reaching over the fence and picking the dog up and running off. (There are stories I've heard of that happening.) But then to come back to the location and walk into the house and take a crate too?
 

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I don’t think I would. It sounds like they rehomed her knowing they couldn’t care for her in the way they should, and then the wife is having a hard time emotionally letting go. I personally would keep record of all communication including your posts on this forum, and just tell them no, you and Harley are bonded now. Then, if things progress further cross that bridge. They may just move on, too.
 
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