A Forever Home for Fido: Animal Custody Issues in Adoptions, Divorces, and Disasters (CET2FHF)

Venue: Live Webinar

Location: -

Event Date/Time: Jan 18, 2012 End Date/Time: Jan 18, 2012
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While many people consider their companion animals a part of the family, animals remain property under the law. This fact creates a number of unique legal challenges for lawyers and judges when ownership and custody disputes arise.

This live webinar will cover the issues related to ownership and custody disputes in three areas:

1. Post-disaster ownership disputes, like those following Hurricane Katrina
2. Divorces and related custody disputes
3. Ownership issues in animal “adoption” contracts used by rescue groups and shelters

The disaster portion of the program will focus on the litigation that ensued when some Katrina evacuees sought to have their dogs, which had been adopted out by shelters, returned to them when they returned to New Orleans. The litigation was complex, crossing state lines and included the rescue groups that placed dogs that were assumed abandoned.

The second portion of the program will cover the custody issues involved in divorces and other ownership disputes. While the law is clear on decisions regarding children and property, it is not so clear when the property is a living, sentient creature. Various cases will be discussed showing how family law judges wrestle with the issues and are divided in their approaches to determining ownership and granting visitation rights.

Finally, the push to “adopt” rather than buy from a breeder or retail establishment has resulted in homes for many animals that would have been otherwise been euthanized. However, rescue groups and adopters have found themselves on opposite sides of the table sometimes when the rescue groups try to regain custody of an animal. This portion of the program will discuss the contractual provisions that arise in adoption contracts, what’s enforceable, and what’s not.