Help getting my dog back

I entered into an oral contract with dog breeder, whereby I would have custody of the female dog until she was ready to deliver puppies and then breeder would return dog after the puppies were weened. After three litters, the dog would be mine. This was my way of getting the dog I wanted and couldn't afford to buy. My dog had the third litter of puppies, and the breeder will not return dog to me. I've tried to contact her via internet, telephone, USPS mail, and she won't respond to me. How do I get my dog back?


Asked almost 6 years ago in East haven, Connecticut
Categories: Animals

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James R Coleman

Answer by James R Coleman

VerifiedWorldwide lawyer

There is a famous comment about "oral" contracts.  "They ain't worth the paper they're written on."  The problem with oral agreements is proving what the terms are. It is really a problem of evidence.  You wrote what you say are the terms.  The breeder will likely deny those are the terms.  If so, what can you do to prove what the terms are?


I have been involved with dog shows for thirty five years, including as a conformation and rally judge.  I constantly caution people against deals such as you say you made.  In addition, I constantly tell people to get it in writing.  I also caution against co-ownership.

Do you have any proof you paid the breeder any money?  If so, the best possible result is you would get a refund if you sue.  Try small claims court.  Courts are reluctant to issue orders where money damages will suffice. 

One bit of advice: do NOT try to get the dog on your own.  If you have nothing to prove you own the dog, how will you explain to the police what you were doing when you were caught in the breeder's kennel? 

Sad to say, this may just be a distasteful lesson in how to use a good, written agreement.

Posted almost 6 years ago

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact James R Coleman, or search the Lawyer Directory.

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