We agreed to help this woman house a dog she found chained up in the back of a property she just purchased. We agreed on 2 weeks or less, she’s backed out of the set pick up dates twice now and even took a family trip out of town without paying us or bringing more supplies. The first week she gave us a cage, small amount of food, bowls and a leash. She supposedly brought her to the vet once but I’m unsure how true it is. If she tries to postpone the pick up again when can I declare the puppy abandoned? I ran out of food already.
This scenario reminds me of the expression, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Florida law and the law in many states address when an animal left for boarding may be deemed abandoned. However, Florida’s boarding abandonment law is only applicable when an animal is left for boarding with a veterinarian or boarding kennel. The law is not so clear when individuals agree to board/foster another person’s animal. Florida’s law states, in part: “Any animal placed in the custody of a licensed veterinarian or bona fide boarding kennel for treatment, boarding, or other care, which shall be abandoned by its owner or the owner’s agent for a period of more than 10 days after written notice is given to the owner or the owner’s agent at her or his last known address may be turned over to the custody of the nearest humane society or dog pound in the area for disposal as such custodian may deem proper… For the purpose of this section, the term “abandonment” means to forsake entirely or to neglect or refuse to provide or perform the legal obligations for care and support of an animal by its owner or the owner’s agent. Such abandonment shall constitute the relinquishment of all rights and claim by the owner to such animal.”
People who believe that an animal has been abandoned in their care can sue for money for services rendered as well as expenses incurred, such as for food and veterinary care. People who believe that their animal is being wrongfully withheld can also sue for money and/or the return of the animal. I cannot say how any given court will decide at what point an animal should be deemed abandoned when left for fostering/boarding with a person other than a veterinarian or boarding kennel. Not that I am suggesting that you would deprive the dog of humane care, but it is important for caretakers to know that they are responsible for providing humane care whether or not they have been paid. People who believe an animal was abandoned may also contact the police, SPCA, animal control, and other entities in their area that are responsible for the enforcement of animal protection laws.
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