Legal Question in Civil Rights Law in South Carolina

Dog Ownership

If you have been taking care of a dog for the past 4 years, does the original owner have the right to come take the dog back anytime they want?

Asked on 12/30/04, 9:00 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Mark S. Moroknek Kelly & Curtis, PLLC.
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Re: Dog Ownership

Q.If you have been taking care of a dog for the past 4 years, does the original owner have the right to come take the dog back anytime they want?

A.I don't practice law in SC. However, assuming the law is the same as it is in NY on this subject, I will try to give you an answer.

Most States treat pets as property. In other words, although you know the animal is a living, breathing, friendly creature, in the eyes of the law they are the same as a piece of furniture.

To get to the question, if the original owner never transferred ownership of his property to you, he is still the owner.

On the other hand, if the pet was abandoned and you found it, tried to locate an owner and were unsuccessful, and have since been taking care of it for four years, the situation may be very different.

I don't know enough from your question what the underlying facts are. The original intention between yourself and the owner, if you did know who the owner was 4 years ago, will probably be the controlling factor.

By the way, you have this posted in the wrong category. It should be under property law.

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12/30/04, 10:00 pm

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