Dog Ownership Laws

The legal ownership of a canine object

A dog is considered an item that is owned by law. When there is a dispute between two people who think that they should own the animal, the Court can decide who has ownership. The majority of the time these cases are heard in the Small Claims Court.

The claim will be for:

  • legal ownership
  • the return of the animal
  • damages for the wrongful keeping of the animal.

The Court may consider many different aspects and points like considering who bought the animal and who the person who actually provides for the animal is.

It is a possibility that the Court could just decide that the dog is owned jointly and if an agreement on who should have it cannot be found, could order that the dog to be sold and the money shared. Another option would be for the Court to decide on shared ownership, so that each person could have the dog for half a year each.

The ownership of a dog is decided at the same time as all other matrimonial items in a divorce.

The Court does not however possess the legal power to order that someone gives access to a dog.

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