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    Any contract experts or Dog ownership experts. Please Help!!


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    I will try and keep this as short as possible.

    I got a male dog about 18 months ago. The previous owner was an elderly lady who was finding dog ownership too difficult. So she put the dog up for adoption.

    After she held interviews with numerous families etc she chose us and she gave us the dog for free. When I took the dog from her we signed a contract which had 2 stipulations. The first stipulation was that the dog was not for sale in the future. If we wanted to re home him for any reason we would return him to her for her to rehome him.

    Stipulation 2 was that we would keep him in tact as a male, as per the breeders and her request.

    After we owned him for about 3 months I emailed her with an update on his progress and offered if she would like to see him etc. I received no reply so assumed she no longer wanted contact.

    About 6 months later he suffered from repeat urinary infections and discharge. Upon Vets advice we got him neutered. This resolved all of the symptoms and he has been fine since.

    A couple of weeks ago she turned up at our house unannounced to visit him. We informed her he had an operation as the vet recommended it etc etc.

    She didnít say anything just kept commenting on how happy he looked.

    Then today we received a recorded delivery letter from her saying we have breached the contract and she wants the dog back.

    To complicate matters she said she understand it would upset my children so she saysÖ we no longer own the dog. However we can borrow him for 9 months of the year. We have him from October to July. She expects him at her house on 1st July then she will return him to us on 1st October!!!!!!

    Iím not making this up!

    My argument is I acted upon Vets advice and the best interests of our dog. Her argument is I went against nature and the breeders wishes and breached the contract.

    Simple questions. Is the contract binding? and do I need to give the dog back?

    The kids will be devastated if he has to go.

    Any sensible advice please!!

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    • #2
      Panic! At The Amex Tom Hark, Preston Park's Avatar
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      Adoption is final and the dog's health is paramount shirley? Previous owner sounds like a complete fruitcake.
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      On fire Lord Bracknell's Avatar
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      Does the "contract" explicitly state that the penalty for a breach of the non-neutering condition is that you must return the dog, or is this a penalty that only applies in the case of you putting the dog up for sale?
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    • #4

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      Quote Originally Posted by Lord Bracknell View Post
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      Does the "contract" explicitly state that the penalty for a breach of the non-neutering condition is that you must return the dog, or is this a penalty that only applies in the case of you putting the dog up for sale?
      Its says any breach of the stipulations will mean the dog will need to be returned to original ownership. Ie if I get him neutered I breach the contract and ownership returns to her.
      However, would doing it on medical grounds over rule the above?
    • #5
      Members Tricky Dicky's Avatar
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      I doubt she has a leg to stand on. Sounds like she's missing him but can't afford to keep him full time, so came up with this scheme. If you want to keep her sweet, and no real reason why you should, unless you just want to be nice, you could offer to let her walk him whenever she wants to, provided it's convenient for you.
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    • #6
      The voice of reason. hans kraay fan club's Avatar
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      Instead of giving her 'custody' 3 months per year, offer her 2 weeks - exact dates to be confirmed when you've booked your summer holidays...
      The above post is simply my opinion. I am not bullying you, should it differ from your own.
    • #7
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      Were any penalties included in the contract in the respect of a breach of stipulation 2? She alleges that you are in breach of contract, but any contract disputes are subject to adjudication by a third party, and acting on a Vets recommendations to relieve suffering would not, in my opinion, constitute a breach, as the stipulation was driven by a breeders desire to make money rather than the interests of the dog.
    • #8
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      I'm not totally sure but I think this would link with the animal welfare act - if the vet has stipulated that the dog needed castrating for health reasons then it is possible that an owner who refused that could be in trouble for animal cruelty.
    • #9
      Drew drew's Avatar
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      I'm no expert on contract law but isn't there some kind of get out for unfair terms? The only criticism would be that you didn't advise about the need for the operation. Had you done so at the time she could then have been involved in the decision (only a fool would go against vets advice!). The fact that you sent one email might mean nothing as you don't know whether or not she received it? Could be worth getting something from the Vet confirming that the neutering was necessary.

      Might be worth getting some advice from a solicitor. Probably cost but then you need to weigh that up against the heartache from the kids if she does take the dog. You could always suggest that if she wants the dog for a quarter of the year then she should stump up a quarter of the vets bills!!!
    • #10
      On fire Lord Bracknell's Avatar
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      It all comes down to whether or not you have a fido-ciary duty to consider the dog's health.

      You could check this out with a Chum or Pal. I'm sure they could give you a Lead.
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      What if there were no hypothetical questions?

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