Fraudulent Dog Adoption

Wanna hear my very strange doggie adoption story? Ok here goes:
Late Saturday night, I come across the following post on craigslist,
Looking for a guy to help adopt! Dog lovers APPLY - **
Date: 2009-11-01, 12:14AM EDT

thats right ADOPT

a dog of course! :slight_smile:
okay so I wanted to rescue a dog, but filled out one question wrong and now I can’t go back but I’m in desperate need of getting that dog, so I need someone tomorrow to go with to the pound and get them to bring the form back in the car and we’ll fill it out together, must have a car and live in a house! .
You can’t be afraid to meet the dog either! Dog lovers APPLY

So it turns out that this 18 year old girl fell in love with a doberman at the pound but they wouldn’t give him to her because she lives in a condo. I agree to help (because if dogs dont get adopted they are euthanized) and get the dog for the girl. Unfortunately, girl can’t handle the dog so she apparently sells him for a few hundred dollars (I doubt she made a profit, she already had to pay $200 adoption fees + food etc) to a third party (nice family who live in a 4000sqr foot home in a rural area).

The pound apparently does extensive follow-up work to make sure pets are being cared for, including at-home visits. So they now know what happened, that we tricked them into letting us adopt a dog that they previously refused to. They’re now harassing us and becoming very threatening (“we’re the city, this is a very serious matter” blah blah") but I don’t think we did anything wrong. I had every legal right to adopt the dog, and subsequently give it away (no money was exchanged). Likewise, the young girl had every right to sell him when she couldn’t take care of him.

In retrospect, the pound was right that she wasn’t a great dog-owner, but I’m still glad the dog has been rescued (plus I got to spend an hour playing with him, which was great). Ultimately everyone seems better off, but the pound isn’t convinced that we did nothing wrong. Whats the legal straight dope?

don’t know the answer, but as a dog lover, I dislike what you did intensely. A large dog like a Dobie belongs somewhere where it can actually run and stretch its legs. Just cause some stupid 18 yr old wants something doesn’t mean they should get it. I don’t even think it was a “nice” gesture for you to try and help someone. There was a 50/50 chance that the dog would have ended up in a worse situation thanks to your being involved.

If you like to play with dogs, volunteer at the nearest pound/rescue league. Don’t help people who can’t pass the pound’s test.

Get out your adoption contract. The shelter I worked for had it pretty well spelled out - you were promising not to be adopting the dog under false premises, that you would notify the shelter if you could no longer care for the dog, etc. You signed it, correct?

This is GQ, so I will keep my opinions to myself.

Sounds like it could be a scam. If it were it might work something like:

Cute girl has boyfriend very into dogfighting and needed a doberman, shepherd or pitbull in time for a match. They’re on all the watch lists so they get other people to adopt when a potential dog comes up for adoption somewhere. They advertise on craigslist using a sob story and some chump takes the heat for filling out an official document fraudulently.

You are right, my apologies for inappropriate opinion sharing.

I was thinking scam, too. But more like, “Uh oh, now the dog needs something and I can’t afford it, can you pay for it and I’ll reimburse you even more money” or something and you end up with no kidneys in Tijuana.

You took the words right off my keyboard…

Our adoption contract states that the person signing the contract is the legal owner, will house the dog primarily at the mentioned address, etc. The owner is also liable for regular veterinary care and proper housing, etc. for the lifespan of the animal. If the contract cannot be fulfilled, the owner also agrees to return said animal back to us. We reserve the right to sue for breach of contract if you fail to uphold your end.

You can be sued for breach of contract and quite possibly fraud.

Yes I could be sued for breech of contract, but in order to be awarded damages, they would have to show they lost money on account of my giving the dog away.

As for fraud, thats a crime, not a civil issue. I didn’t see $1 in this situation, so I don’t think fraud applies.

This sounds dodgy in the fact that they would euthanize a dog rather than give it to somebody that lived in a condo. What shelter would have done that?

In New York you could be charged with the crime of Larceny:
155.05 Larceny; defined.

  1. A person steals property and commits larceny when, with intent to
    deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or to
    a third person, he wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds such property
    from an owner thereof.
  2. Larceny includes a wrongful taking, obtaining or withholding of
    another`s property, with the intent prescribed in subdivision one of
    this section, committed in any of the following ways:
    (a) By conduct heretofore defined or known as common law larceny by
    trespassory taking, common law larceny by trick, embezzlement, or
    obtaining property by false pretenses;

    (d) By false promise.
    A person obtains property by false promise when, pursuant to a scheme
    to defraud, he obtains property of another by means of a representation,
    express or implied, that he or a third person will in the future engage
    in particular conduct, and when he does not intend to engage in such
    conduct or, as the case may be, does not believe that the third person
    intends to engage in such conduct.

What you did is practically the definition of common law “Larceny by Trick.” You obtained the property (the dog) by means of deceit. NY also itemizes out larceny by false promise, which would also cover this scenario.

So if they sue you, and win, who says they want money? If they sue you and win, you’re the one with the public black mark that might come to bite you on the leg down the road.

What will you do if the animal shelter goes out to recover the dog and then they provide it with the treatment and food that you were obligated to provide under the contract? Now they have incurred damages/loss in the form of time, mileage and out of pocket costs. If they send you a bill, you could be liable to them.

Contracts can also spell out penalties for failure to keep up your end, regardless of loss or damages to the other party.

Of course, I’m speculating because I don’t know what the contract says. My recommendation is to go read it again and you’ll probably answer your own questions.

That’s my thought as well; did you meet the people she sold the dog to?

Most shelters and rescues do that. They don’t want a dog going to a family/person that can’t reasonably take care of it. A large, energetic dog living in a small condo with no yard will be destructive and cause problems. That type of situation will be very hard on a dog, and even harder if the owner becomes frustrated and either abandons or beats the dog. It’s better off dead then in a situation like that.

Also, the org I foster for also has similar provisions in the contract as stated previously in the thread.

Wait—so there’s no penalty for breaking a contract if the other party didn’t lose any money??

Moral superior judgment that. I won’t get into a discussion on how wrong that is.

This is how it worked when we adopted our pooch too. It was expressly spelled out in the adoption contract that the ownership of the dog could not change for X number of years (I think it was four, but I don’t remember). If something in our circumstance changed within that time and we could no longer keep our pooch, he had to be returned to the Humane Society. If my fiancee and I were to break up, I can’t even keep him because it’s her name on the contract and she is the legal owner.

My boyfriend tried to get a dog once for his mom after hers died. They had talked about it, she wanted one, he wanted to give her one for Christmas. He wasn’t thinking and put down “gift” on the form and they wouldn’t let him have a dog for love nor money. It wasn’t bringing a puppy home to a child, it was a normal adoption that happened to be a Christmas thing!

“A nice family in a rural area.” Yeah, right. Lord only knows where he really wound up. :frowning:

She lied to the pound to get the dog. What makes you think she’s telling you the truth about what happened to him … ?

If you remember, Ellen DeGeneres adopted a dog, found it was unsuitable for her (because it didn’t get along with her cats, I believe) and then gave the dog to another family. The pet adoption agency found out and repossessed the dog, despite Ellen’s tearful on-camera plea to let it stay with the family she placed it with.