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  1. #1
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    Default How to Sue for Custody of an Animal

    My question involves court procedures for the state of: Ohio

    How do I sue for third party animal custody?

    A little background.

    September 2016 a "breeder" sold my dog to me bc she couldn't spend enough time with all of her dog's (aka violating state dept of ag laws).

    She told me my dog ate a corncob and needed surgery. What she didn't tell me is my dog needed 9 inches of necrotic tissue removed, renal failure, anemia and emaciated. Ffwd 19 mos, I've blindly fumbled through one worm and two protozoa parasites. A ridiculous amount of intestinal inflammation and two surgical procedures. Grand Total $4k and some change. My husband paid for it all from his profit sharing, it hasn't really hit us as hard as it sounds. He's agreed to let me capitalize on the situation, trying to gain custody of her breeding stock and turning them over to either concerned breeders with spay/neuter contracts.

    In spite of my attorney's reassurance she can in fact pay me (she owns 30+ acres of agriculture zoned land), I don't want the money. I want the dogs. In warm homes, deshed in the summer, couches to surf and the occasional spoonful of peanut butter. And some Novox for the old guy.

    Any thoughts on pulling this hairbrained idea off?

    Note: humane officers are investigating concerning neglect. I'm trying to make this a "any which way you turn" situation. Thoughts on staying out of their way too?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Third Party Animal Custody

    Quote Quoting Cow Dog
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    In spite of my attorney's reassurance she can in fact pay me (she owns 30+ acres of agriculture zoned land), I don't want the money.
    What does this mean? Who can pay you for what? Does the woman wish to purchase the dog back from you?

    You cannot force her to sell the dogs to you. You might be able to convince her with an obscene amount of money but no guarantees. The best case scenario is that the humane society seizes the dogs if there is verifiable abuse or neglect. You could then offer to adopt the dogs en masse but I doubt they'd go for it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Third Party Animal Custody

    Quote Quoting free9man
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    What does this mean? Who can pay you for what? Does the woman wish to purchase the dog back from you?
    Sorry, I wasn't clear. The defendant can pay any settlement or judgement.

    Heck no! I'm not selling/giving my dog back. The breeder's environment is how she got so sickly to begin with.

    Quote Quoting free9man
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    You cannot force her to sell the dogs to you. You might be able to convince her with an obscene amount of money but no guarantees. The best case scenario is that the humane society seizes the dogs if there is verifiable abuse or neglect. You could then offer to adopt the dogs en masse but I doubt they'd go for it.
    Adopt them from who? Her county dog warden can't house them, HSUS has rented some sort of space for them. From HSUS or the county? I don't want the dogs for my keeping, I want to rehome them.

    I was hoping the offer of the debt forgiven in exchange for the dogs might fly. My understanding of Ohio law is if she can't pay any judgement, then property can be used to pay off the debt. The law doesn't say what type of property; only property. Dogs are property.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Third Party Animal Custody

    What debt? What defendant? You are not providing the proper details. Nor does this align with your other thread.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Third Party Animal Custody

    Quote Quoting free9man
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    What debt? What defendant? You are not providing the proper details. Nor does this align with your other thread.
    She is hoping to sue the breeder for a lot of money, win, and then try to convince the breeder to give her the dogs in lieu of the money judgment.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Third Party Animal Custody

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    She is hoping to sue the breeder for a lot of money, win, and then try to convince the breeder to give her the dogs in lieu of the money judgment.
    That isn't going to happen I would imagine.

    But it sounds like the breeder is her mom from the other thread? Or does OP have multiple dog issues?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to Sue for Custody of an Animal

    If you win a money judgment against the breeder, and the breeder pays the judgment, then the case is over.

    If the breeder does not pay a judgment, you can discuss with your attorney the cost and complexity of trying to obtain an order of execution that would allow you to seize and sell personal property from the breeder, the breeder's exemptions under state law, her right of redemption, and whether the court officers who handle the execution and sale would have any interest in trying to seize and sell animals.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to Sue for Custody of an Animal

    Quote Quoting free9man
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    That isn't going to happen I would imagine.

    But it sounds like the breeder is her mom from the other thread? Or does OP have multiple dog issues?
    I have multiple dog issues.

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
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    If you win a money judgment against the breeder, and the breeder pays the judgment, then the case is over.

    If the breeder does not pay a judgment, you can discuss with your attorney the cost and complexity of trying to obtain an order of execution that would allow you to seize and sell personal property from the breeder, the breeder's exemptions under state law, her right of redemption, and whether the court officers who handle the execution and sale would have any interest in trying to seize and sell animals.
    The breeder only owns 8 breeding dogs. Then there are also 14 puppies the breeder has for sale.

    The situation has changed a bit. I have come to discover the plaintiff has over $100k in back federal taxes. Even though her property is worth $300k, I probably won't get anything if the feds seize it to pay off her back taxes.

    In the meantime, I have submitted nearly 100 pages of veterinary notes, bills and text messages communicating my dog was sick and her acknowledgments she knew my dog was sick, even commenting her current dog's are sick. I have submitted this all to local humane agents. They say they cannot move forward with presenting to the county prosecutor until we have a second complainant (the first 16 refused to participate further). Once charged, they say they plan to use documents I've provided to seek criminal charges.

    I have now changed tack, contacting the media in hopes I can get someone else to acknowledge the neglect. Both the breeder and I live in small rural towns, dependant on agriculture and Cattle Dogs (Blue and Red Heelers) to move livestock. Paying her current asking price of $2000, added to this high veterinary bills can be ruinous to small farmers. We are meeting with our first media outlet later today, and hope to appear in the Sunday edition.

    So I'm not getting my money, but I am making her life very difficult.

    Thank you for your help and insight into my possible resolutions.

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