, Derry, New Hampshire

Crime / Court

May 11, 2011

Fighting over a pet is a doggone shame

I bought a puppy from a neighbor, who didn't want to sign a bill of sale. The dog is now a year old and has lived with me for six months.

I paid vet bills, including the rabies vaccination. She sold the dog because she needed money to pay bills. The puppy always ran over to my house and did not want to go home. Can the neighbor take the dog back?

If money has changed hands and you have the dog, you've got a contract, implied or otherwise. Where you paid the vet bills, this is something the law calls detrimental reliance, and this cements the deal.

In other words, in reliance on the fact that there was a deal, you suffered a pecuniary loss by paying the vet bill to your own detriment. The dog is yours.

The only thing that might possibly change my answer would be if there are breeding papers on the dog and the neighbor retained what amounts to a title. However, she would be in trouble with the breeding association for doing business this way. Go to the local town hall, license the dog and call it a day. My answer: No, she can't retrieve Fido. Tell her to "leave it."

A credit card company that I'm not even sure I had an account with sued me. So, I sent them discovery documents — interrogatories and requests for production of documents — asking them to document my debt.

Three days after I sent this out, the collection attorneys sent me their discovery forms. So now, I won't get the information I need before the time deadline for me to send my answers to their requests. This isn't right because I honestly don't know if I had a credit card with this company. What can I do?

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