My question involves getting a refund of our adoption fee for a dog we adopted from a rescue, that ended up going back to the rescue. The rescue is out of NY, the dogs come from the south, and we live in the northeast. The rescue 'tags' animals at kill shelters down south (i.e.-puts a rescue hold on them so they aren't killed), then sets up transportation northbound for adoption. Their adoptions fees cover the cost to pull, vet, and transport the animals.
If an animal doesn't end up being a good fit in a home, the rescue demands it be returned to them (they like to call this part of their contract, but since animals are property, and a fee is exchanged as payment, this really can't be held up in court). Given that these rescues are 501c3's, and are essentially in the business of providing (legally flipping) animals in exchange for the fee (where the majority of their money comes from), we are still looking at an exchange of value. There is no written rule on their paperwork that fees are non-refundable. We requested the return of the dog 6 months after adopting it (yes, we tried that long to make it work). All of this is still within the same tax year, yet the rescue owner stated our fee would not be returned given the amount of time that had passed. Keep in mind that this rescue was operating in our state illegally, and even isn't fully up to snuff in her own state, but she does maintain her 501c3 status with the IRS.
I would still like to send her a Demand Notice for the return of our money. Does anyone on here know what IRS rules would apply in this situation of her being an animal rescuer, using a 501c3, and there being a physical exchange of a dog and money? It has now been 5 months since she took the dog back.
Thank you for your input.