What To Do When A Previous Owner Wants Their Dog Back

steps to get dog back

If you are thinking about adding a dog to your life then it is a really good idea to adopt. Purchasing from a breeder can be a great way to get a dog. However, there are so many dogs needing loving homes in rescue centers that it’s really lovely to give them a home if you can.

Most of the time when you do use an adoption center to find a dog, the dog is placed with you and you both live happily ever after. This is especially true when the center ensures that the dog is a good fit for your home and lifestyle.

Unfortunately, the fairytale of happily ever after doesn’t always happen, though the chances do improve if the owner uses an app like Shadow. When you adopt an animal with a history, you are adopting an animal with a previous family of some kind.

pet adoption gone wrong


It may be the case that you are adopting an animal that was lost to their family who perhaps didn’t microchip him or her.

Maybe they just lost their dog while relocating it to a new home. Because of this risk, that family may well want their dog back if they manage to relocate them. So you’re happy with your new pet, the dog is settled and you’re attached, and strangers come from nowhere wanting the dog back. What do you do?

Here’s What To Do If Your New Dog’s Previous Owner Wants It Back

Firstly, be assured this is an extremely difficult situation for all involved. Everybody wants the best for the dog, but nobody wants to lose their beloved pet.

Unfortunately, there is no clear way out of this scenario. There are no strict laws on pet ownership, especially as often, pets are seen as property.

Those kinds of laws don’t really tackle the moral problem of what is going to be best for the dog, and the people involved in this scenario.

If you find yourself in this situation, do not instantly give the dog up. They currently belong to you, so you get to play detective. Ask the previous owners the following questions, and if they truly love their dog, they will appreciate your concerns.

  •     How did they lose the dog?
  •     What information do they have about the dog?
  •     How long did they have the dog?
  •     What efforts did they make to find the dog?
  •     Do they have photos of themselves with the dog?

In addition to these questions you may also want to do some investigations elsewhere and seek to:

  •     Get as much information from the shelter where you adopted the dog
  •     Get to know the family a little more and understand where they are coming from
  •    In a controlled environment, have the family come and see the dog and see how it reacts

If you do want to keep the dog and the previous owners are contesting that decision then you may have to go down the legal route, which is complex. It can also be very expensive to head down the legal road.

If a solution can be found that doesn’t involve the law, it is a good idea to work towards that solution.

If you do find yourself in a legal dispute over the ownership of the dog, you will want to do a lot of research and seek professional legal advice. It can be a costly journey, but if you love your new dog, the chances are you’ll do anything to keep them as yours.