Ownership Disputes: Case Studies

Ownership Disputes: Case Studies

Here are some ways we have helped other pet owners in similar positions as yours

A couple is unable to agree on shared custody of their pet.

The Claimant and Defendant were in a relationship and purchased a puppy jointly for the price of £1,000. The Claimant paid £600 and the Defendant paid £400. The Claimant registered the microchip, Kennel Club registration, and insurance policy in their name. The Defendant agreed to pay for the food, toys, treats, grooming, and gifts for the dog throughout the course of its life. It was agreed that the veterinary bills would be paid from the couple’s joint account which was contributed to by both parties on a monthly basis.

Following a breakdown in the relationship, the Defendant left their shared property and took the dog without notifying the Claimant. The Claimant accepted the relationship could not be reconciled but suggested that an amicable sharing arrangement could be put in place allowing the ownership and custody of the dog to be split equally between the parties. The Defendant rejected the offer, claiming that, as they paid the majority of the costs, the dog was theirs.

The Claimant formally instigated proceedings against the Defendant pursuant to the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977 on the basis that the Defendant had unlawfully detained the pet from the Claimant.

Generally, if no settlement can be reached between the parties then remedies available to the Court, determined by the facts of each case, would be delivery up of the animal and consequential damages, whereby one party is awarded the dog and the other without.

In this matter, the Claimant instructed us to settle the matter before the final hearing by way of a settlement agreement. The Claimant successfully recovered their £600 contribution towards the purchase cost of the dog from the Defendant.

A couple agrees to agree over sharing agreement.

The Claimant and Defendant were in a relationship and purchased a puppy jointly for the price of £550. The Claimant and the Defendant paid £275 each. The Defendant registered the microchip and the insurance policy in their name. The Claimant had the responsibility of registering the pet at the veterinary practice.  All costs in relation to the dog were evenly split between the parties.

Following a breakdown in the relationship, an informal sharing agreement was carried out between the parties. Unfortunately, after a number of years, the agreement was no longer tenable, and the Defendant retained the dog without the Claimant’s consent. The Claimant attempted to engage with the Defendant with a view to resuming the agreement; this was rejected. The Claimant subsequently instigated formal proceedings against the Defendant in an effort to resume the sharing agreement.

The remedies available to the parties are the same as set out in the above case study, however in this matter, the parties reached an agreement ahead of the final hearing, whereby Cohen Cramer drafted a detailed settlement agreement that allowed for the previous settlement terms to be resumed. The agreement set out clear parameters for each party. Any breach of the agreement would result in a party being able to lift the stay on the original proceedings and resume the action.

Compromise reached over a disputed dog.

The Claimant and First Defendant were in a relationship and purchased a puppy for the price of £1,500. The First Defendant contributed £1,100 and the Claimant contributed £400 which was regarded as a gift to the First Defendant.

Following a breakdown in the relationship the First Defendant left the property shared with the claimant taking the dog with them.  The First Defendant gave the dog to a family member (Second Defendant) as was their right to do so as the sole owner of the dog.

Sometime after the relationship breakdown, the Claimant issued formal proceedings against the First and Second Defendant’s alleging that the dog was partially hers and that the First Defendant had no right to gift the dog to the Second Defendant.

Following the service of witness evidence from both the First and Second Defendant, a settlement was reached with the Claimant. It was agreed that the Defendants would pay the Claimant the sum of £1,500 with no admission as to liability in order to bring these proceedings to a conclusion. The agreement was formalised by way of a settlement agreement and Tomlin Order which was subsequently sealed by the Court and the First and Second Defendant were able to keep their dog.

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Ownership Disputes: Case Studies