Five Things to Consider If Your Dog or Cat Has Been Stolen

Law Blog

If someone steals your dog, cat or other pet, you may feel devastated and frustrated. Luckily, from a legal standpoint, there are a few things you can do. Here are some ideas to consider and things you should know as you attempt to fight for justice:

1. State laws vary.

Laws related to the theft of pets vary from state to state. In some cases, your rights may be protected under law, but in other cases, stealing a dog may be akin to stealing a garden rake from the garage. To assess your rights, talk with an animal lawyer right away.

2. Lodging a report with the police is critical.

As soon as you suspect that your pet has been taken, you should lodge a report with the police. That gets the incident on their radar, and it also helps to establish it as a criminal matter. Without a crime report, the issue may be relegated to a civil issue.

3. It's important to track any expenses you incur.

In some cases, you may not have a right to financial restitution other than the direct costs you have incurred. If the law only sees your pet as property, it may be unlikely that the courts will order the thief to pay any restitution for pain and suffering. However, the guilty party may have to pay you for the value of your pet, any vet bills incurred through the incident or related costs. Make sure to track these expenses so you know how much money you have lost.

4. Laws related to farm animals vary from laws related to pets.

In many cases, the laws that govern the farm animals in an area are different than the laws governing pets. This happens because farm animals are income-producing property. As a result, if you have heard that a neighbor was able to hold a thief responsible for stealing his or her cows or chickens, don't automatically assume that you may have the same rights for your pet. Sadly, the law differs.

5. Animal lawyers can help.

Animal lawyers understand the nuances of local, state, territorial and federal laws related to the welfare of animals. In many cases, these laws are only invoked to protect animals that have been mistreated by their owners, and they don't extend to violence imparted by non owners or to cases of dog or cat napping. However, animal lawyers understand the laws. They also know where they can push cases based on precedent. For more details, contact an animal lawyer today.  


22 August 2016

Unknown laws you might not know

I love all of those quirky laws that are still on the law book. It's a little hobby of mine to track down some of those laws and try and work out if there was a story behind how they got on the books. I've been doing it for 14 years and have accumulated a lot of material that I have researched. I thought it would be fun to start a blog with some of these stories to share with other people who like to know a little more about law and about history. I hope you enjoy my site.