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Discussion Starter #1
This is something that's been on my mind ever since I got Sir, and I've even been asked about it a few times and I just don't know so I'm asking for a little advice from the all-knowing German Shepherd forum members


The backstory(quite long, but its hard to understand my dilemma without it):
Previously, Sir belonged to a neighbor(lives ~10 houses down the street) and I walked him with my dog Cheyenne everyday for roughly two years, it was more a favor sort of thing which I was happy to do, never paid. He was kept outside 24/7 so I'd just take him from the yard to walk him whenever and return him when done. There was an unrelated incident that caused walks to become infrequent until his owners got another dog and said he no longer needed walked because he could play with the new dog. I kept friendly contact and would talk/wave to them often even after I stopped walking Sir.

Fast forward 1.5-2 years, Sir escaped from their yard almost daily and they made no effort to try and contain or really do anything with him - when people would catch him and hold onto him or bring him home they would say that the people should've just let him go and reluctantly let him in the house. Of course he'd be running loose again the next day.

I was sick of seeing him out and was afraid he'd be injured so one day on my way to the Humane Society I volunteer at he was in my yard so I just took him in with me. I checked him in as a stray, assuming that at least his owners would get a reality check and keep him contained, and I put a hold on him just in case due to my longstanding attachment to him. Despite being contacted, his owners never picked him up and I ended up adopting him. I've had him a little over a month and a half, since May 1st, and in that time I had to nurse him back to health from pneumonia(vet says likely from being outside 24/7 in bad weather), he gained 20lbs by just being given food and is now at a good weight, I've trained him commands and I've house-trained him. Once he got closer to a healthy weight his counter-surfing and trash-digging stopped, and he's never even given a though attempt to escape from the yard.

He is very happy here, I like to think much much happier, and the rest of the neighbors are quite happy about him living with me over his previous owners - people I hardly know have heard about it since everyone knew Sir as the friendly neighborhood 'stray'.


My question:
Should I try to make friendly communication with Sir's previous owners?

Sir gets to play in the yard and I often take them in the car on hikes or long walks, but since as far as I know Sir's previous owners do not know I have him I do not feel comfortable taking him out in the neighborhood for walks or to show off his good health to other neighbors. His previous owners live on the same street as I do. I do NOT want a surprise "You have my dog!" meeting out in the neighborhood. They did once tell me about how they were thinking about getting rid of Sir, but that was long ago and obviously they didn't, so I don't know whether they'd want him back or whatever. Unless they move away soon, I do feel that they will find out eventually, and wonder if it would be better to initiate this or let it happen when it happens.
His previous owners and I have always been on good terms, but this is a crazy situation and I don't want any issues to result. On the one hand, it would be nice to have things clear out, not have to worry so much about taking him out, and vet records would be excellent as I'm 90% sure they once told me about a health issue that will eventually affect him greatly but as it currently stands I wouldn't even know where to start in finding out what it was and x-raying him entirely to find out seems like overkill especially if I happen to be remembering wrong. On the other hand, I'm afraid they would want him back or just generally cause issues.

If I did contact them it would most likely be through a letter, probably without address and instead with my phone number to contact me back if they wish. I'd be hesitant to do it in person as I'm not a confrontational person and it's harder for people to take me seriously because I'm small(5'2") and do not look mature - most people guess my age to be about 15 years old, I am 18 and a few months. Plus if they did end up having an issue they would have my phone number but not my address, I don't think they know where I live/my car/anything to find me by.

Sorry for the length, any bad grammar and if I ramble at times. This is something that I've been thinking about for a while now, to the point it might be driving me a little nutty, so I'd really like some advice to help me put an end to it. Thanks for any help.
 

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Originally Posted By: Steffanie

people I hardly know have heard about it since everyone knew Sir as the friendly neighborhood 'stray'.
if this is true what makes you think THEY don't know?? i would contact them, either in person or by mail
 

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I would need a little more information to be able to give you any kind of advice.
First, do you live with your parents, or some older person who has functioned as a guardian to you? If so, I assume this person(s) is one hundred percent up to speed on how and where you got Sir. If not, they need to be, as this could eventually cause issues for them in their own neighborhood. If they ARE, and they're supportive, I would run this by them, and explain you just want to be able to live a normal life with YOUR dog. That's right, YOUR dog. You took him to the Shelter. The shelter contacted the owners. The owners never came and got him. You adopted him. Hopefully, and this is just an in-case, you paid the NORMAL adoption fee your shelter would charge for an animal like Sir. If you did not, possibly because of your status us a volunteer there, then I would quickly rectify that if at all possible. Explain to the shelter's management that you want everything above board, and you're thinking about what will happen if the owners find out. Having gone through all the same things you would have if you'd adopted a stray from Kalamazoo, then there can be no question in the eyes of the law he's YOUR dog.
Once you've covered those things, if you're sure they're going to find out anyway, then I say send them the letter. If you're lucky, you get NO RESPONSE at all, just like at the shelter, and you're free and clear. If not, you may get some type of argument, but I seriously doubt it.
I'd bet my last dollar they ignore the letter, and ignore you if they see you out with the dog.
 

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My feeling is that since they were contacted about him being at the shelter and they did not pick them up and you adopted him, it is none of their business. Let them see you walking him down the street. He is your dog!! If they ask, say you saw him at the shelter and since they didnt pick him up you adopted him. They were told where he was.
 

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I agree with Kularing. I wouldn't worry about the neighbor. The neighbor was notified that Sir was at the shelter, they didn't pick him up, and you legally adopted him. My only suggestion is to make sure you put his adoption papers someplace safe. If you haven't done so already, I would change Sir's name just to avoid drawing attention to him as you walk him around the neighborhood. If the neighbor confronts you about the dog, be honest - you saw him at the shelter, he reminded you of Sir, and you adopted him.
 

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No. Let the sleeping dog lie. All you've done is act in the best interest of a dog that you ultimately ended up adopting. You did a really great thing, not something wrong (quelch the guilt). You do not owe his prior owners a discussion or explanation of any kind. The only thing I would do is not leave him unattended outside given your proximity to his original owners. Live your life with Sir as you wish. His owners didn't care or come when called, they haven't been in the picture so far, so if they show up in the future on your doorstep, you'll be in a position to deal with it. ID
 

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They knew where the dog was and CHOSE not to act.

You purchased the dog (you paid money for the adoption fee, right?).

You paid for medical expenses (you have vet bills in YOUR name, right?).

Get him microchipped in your name and then to **** with the neighbors - he's legally yours.

They lost all rights to care about the dog when they knowingly left him in the shelter.
 

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You legally adopted him, they were notified he was at the shelter, they left him there which makes him eligible to be adopted, end of story:)
We had people like this in our neighborhood....the dog would get loose all the time, my son would take him home. One day he got loose and the guy said: Im not going to go bother looking for him.
I dont think they wanted Sir. do you?
Hes better off with you. Its amazing he didnt get hit by a car. Or stolen by bad people. He is a lucky dog

PS if people want their dogs, they come and get them. My Dad lives way out in the country and he had a beautiful hunting dog show up on his property. he had tags on so my Dad called the owner/ the owner drove about 70 mi to come and get him, yes the dog was 70 mi away from home!! and he really thanked my Dad for calling him and keeping the dog safe
 

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Steffanie, I read your prevoius posts, you do not sound 18, your very responsible. Good for you helping out this GSD. You did the righrt thing.

Ditto to Lauri, Keep all your records, I know you had him nuetered keep all the documents on him, and vetting receipts in a folder safe someplace. In NH we have to register and Lisence our dogs with the town, it is required by law, I assume your town too?
You should do that right away if you have not.
 

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Wow, I'm surprised at the responses - but that isn't to say I disagree with them.

Originally Posted By: Lauri & The GangGet him microchipped in your name and then to **** with the neighbors - he's legally yours.
This pretty much says it all.

As mentioned, I would change his name, but of course that's up to you. Give him a fresh start
 

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While I understand and applaud your desire to be totally open and out front, you owe them nothing. You took all the right steps, did everything by the book. I would jus tdeal with it if something comes up but I would be surprised if it did.

Nice job with the dog BTW. You took better care of the dog when it wasn't yours than the folks who owned him. Enjoy him for the rest of his life!!
 

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Originally Posted By: kularingMy feeling is that since they were contacted about him being at the shelter and they did not pick them up and you adopted him, it is none of their business. Let them see you walking him down the street. He is your dog!! If they ask, say you saw him at the shelter and since they didnt pick him up you adopted him. They were told where he was.
I agree with this, based on the fact he strayed from home many time and also previous owners never took good care of him, if they ask, tell them you did see him at the shelter and you in fact adopted him after the specified time before strays go up for adoption (I assume you have adoption paperwork). Legally now he is your dog.
 

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I go with most of the opinions,
you save him from street dangers, it's your dog now, love him and give him the best in life.
About the other guys, don't bother, even if they see you on the street with the dog on the leash, i doubt they walk straight to you.

Just My 0.02c
 

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If what a previous poster said is correct, you are under 18 and therefore unable to legally enter a contract. I'm going on the assumption that you have a parents backing in this.

Hopefully, the adoption paperwork was done in your mom or dad's name. If not, get it redone in their name - since you work/volunteer there it shouldn't be any big deal.

That said, he is your family's dog. When I adopted Morgan, I had a passing interest in finding her owner becuse she was obviously not a cheap BYB pup. The ACO who adopted her to me (a friend from training) told me something to the effect of

She was a stray. She waited her hold period. You paid for her. She is yours. End of story.
 

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She said 18 AND A FEW MONTHS, not in a few months.

I would meet with them in person, if you have the paperwork stating you adopted him, he was a stray, whatever, they cannot do anything.

Being a small person myself, I understand what you are going back and forth with.. Do you have any large male friends?
If so, get one to go with you and talk with them, if they say they want him back then you can let them know he is NOT going back with them.
I would rather have some more neighbors hate me than send my dog back to a life of neglect.
If they clear it with you as a we-don't-care thing, GOOD! If not, oh well, their loss.

I don't know your neighbors, I can guess they are not the best of people to do that to a dog, but I don't know if they're violent or just lazy and ignorant, I think we could give more advice if we knew their dispositions.
 

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I don't see any reason to meet with your neighbors and explain the situation, especially since you took him to the HS yourself and that is a fact I wouldn't spread around because that would cause bad feelings.

You do not need to take any large males with you because that will seem like you are challenging them.

However, you can't hide forever. You could give them a call and tell them that you adopted their dog from the HS after they failed to pick him up. He is LEGALLY yours so there isn't anything they can do about it but unless you plan to move anytime soon they are going to find out eventually and it is best to head off trouble.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the advice.

I think it is quite possible that they do already know, it is a pretty close neighborhood but no one that I know of that knows about me having him particularly likes them which is why I would assume that they don't know.

There is no question that Sir belongs to me, if something were to come up it be easy for me to prove legal ownership. I have all the paperwork and of course I did the legal adoption(I am in fact 18 yrs old) so its in my name, vet bills are in my name, licensing and rabies vaccination all under me. There is absolutely no way I'd give him up!
I did wait for the stray hold to end(5 days), paid all the normal fees for an adoption and had to go through all the same process.

I did consider changing Sir's name, but haven't come up with anything so it has been left alone so far. He already had a microchip, but we're working on changing the info - the place has been slow to respond. The dogs are never left unattended outside, if left outside they are frequently checked on if not watched.

I don't think they really wanted Sir, when he was young it seemed like there was something there but as he got older it seemed more like his previous owners viewed him as an annoyance. He was also the only dog they never allowed inside; they had a minpin that was allowed inside but frequently escaped until it eventually disappeared, they once had a roommate with an aggressive pit that was allowed inside until the dog attacked and was euth'd and the roommate was kicked out. They had a female German Shepherd they bred with Sir, she was kept in the basement and as far as I know they still have her.

I love having Sir here, I don't understand why they had such an issue with him. He's very lucky just to be alive; he was frequently seen on a nearby road with a 55mph speed limit, and we have a large feral dog(Sharpei) and plenty of coyotes that could've posed an issue. I like to think he's also lucky to live here to be loved on, have a nice comfy bed to sleep on inside, and generally be spoiled in the good way. I even spent part of my neuter deposit return from the shelter to buy the dogs a kiddie pool to play in.

I think I just won't say anything and when they find out if they do care to say anything at all I'll just talk to them politely and I don't think I'll have an issue. It's just that since we were on good terms before I guess I felt obligated to tell them. I'll still consider writing a letter. They were always nice to me and invited me into their home to see their renovations and when they had puppies they frequently let me stop by and see them. Overall nice people, just not the best dog owners.

Thank you guys so much for your help!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Sorry Michelle and APBTLove - I had started to reply, would go do something, come back, go do something.... So I missed you two in my response.

His previous owners were always nice to me and invited me into their home to see their renovations and when they had puppies they frequently let me stop by and see them. Overall nice people, just not the best dog owners. Though other neighbors do not particularly like them, mainly because of their kids but the dog situation was not helping them either.

The last thing I would want is to be confrontational, which bringing a male friend could be seen as, and since I do not fear them harming me or anything like that I think it would be unnecessary.

If I do contact them at all, I think the letter would be the best bet because it gives time to think about it and I can word it carefully and kindly and make sure I cover everything. I would never tell them that I was the one that took him to the HS and the HS would never tell due to law, I would make it sound like I didn't know who did it, but I saw him there and then the rest of the story happened.
 

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I would not contact them if I were in your situation.

The previous owners had every opportunity to pick him up from the shelter when he was taken in, because they were notified he was there. By not coming to pick him up, they relinquished ownership. Ownership then lay with the shelter, which put him up for adoption. As you are the adopter, he is now yours.

If you run into them on the street and they say, "You have our dog!", tell them that he was available for adoption at the humane society and that you adopted him. That is all they need to know. They gave up their right to own him when they did not pick him up. He is now yours and you have the adoption contract and vet paperwork to prove it.

You do NOT have to justify yourself to them.
 

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I say, why let these people who apparently caused a hard life for Sir continue to do so? They've had too much effect (negatively apparently) on his life already, don't let them continue to do so.

Do what you want with YOUR dog...don't let them continue to affect his life by depicting when and where you take him walking. He's legally yours, not that I think they would care much, so act like they never existed. Probably the best thing for you and for Sir in your new life together.
 
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