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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Sorry this is long...
My now-husband has(had) a dog which he bought and raised as a puppy on his parents' farm. He then lived at their house as did the dog. The dog (bull terrier) was extremely unruly, destroyed stuff, and his parents really hated him and wanted to get rid of him. He was then between jobs and when he got a full time job (with a commute), parents offered to have the dog run around the farm so he doesnt sit in the house. During this entire time my husband was the only one who ever took him to vet, addressed his medical concerns, paid vet bills, etc.

Fast forward 4 years--the bull terrier lives full time at parents house and husbands father got attached to him. He is a much nicer dog now mainly because he is older and less mobile because he is obese. We are moving to another state and wanted to take him with us. Mainly because we feel he is being neglected there. He is at least 10 lbs overweight, sedentary and due to his weight has torn an ACL which they did not fix. Basically, they are saying "this is now our dog, get another dog (but pay all his vet bills or we wont take him to the vet)" but won't put him on a diet, wont take him to the vet, so if we leave him here he will die fat and in pain and with a bunch of orthopedic issues probably. They never gave him a bath, treat him for fleas or anything else. I witnessed him pass paraistes from his anus several times in the past.

On a side note--i feel like the mother is an animal hoarder (as well as hoarder of stuff). She owns a horse farm and had various people at various points in time call animal control because she isnt able to take care of all horses very well, the place is very dirty, etc. I don't understand anything about horses or how well she takes care of them but all i Know is that animal control/welfare has been here several times and it stressed her out. Also, she has her own dog who is old, also has never been to the vet, never had a bath in her life, is obese and can barely move because all of her joints are torn (boxer).

What recourse do we have, legal or otherwise? We tried talking to them multiple times and they are absolutely adamant that the dog stays here. Husband loves parents very much, doesnt want to get into any confrontations, legal stuff, etc but I see he is very sad and it bothers him a lot. I understand how they got attached to the dog too but they are old, barely able to care for the farm let alone for an energetic (formerly energetic) dog. I feel that if we leave him here without doing anything he will end up decrepit, diabetic, obese with arthritis. Any advice appreciated!
 

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Honestly, I would just tell them you are taking the dog and then do just that: take the dog.

If they are interested in fighting it legally, that's their choice, but it sounds like all the vet bills are in your husbands name anyway so I don't think it will be a long one.
 

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My take...
Ownership is not clear...
Not with the info provided.

On one hand sounds like most records are likely in your husband's name. However also sounds like this dog has been in the care of your in-laws for a very long time. In many locations the fact that the dog has lived there for so long, they are providing the day to day care, probably paying for food would mean the dog now belongs to them...

And not trying to sound harsh, but if belonging to you two, you are ultimately responsible for this dog's current condition... Even if temporarily in the care of another it is still the owner's responsibility to pay for and make sure that veterinary care is provided...

I guess my point is just to decide if this is your dog or not. If yes, then get the dog and provide him with the care he needs.
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you--kmes and PoppyKenna. Yes, the ownership seems blurry to me as well and I think the reason is that it's a farm so there are several houses and the dog lived "in between" the houses but the farm is his territory.
The in laws refuse to let us take him and get him the vet care and now won't even let us take him overnight. He continues to limp, is infested with fleas and parasites.

I dont think the mother is law is really all that crazy about the dog but using it as barganing chip as we recently had a baby, they dont want us to move away, they feel excluded from the baby, using dog as barganing chip so we come back to visit the dog hence them. They have other dogs and they all the access to food 24/7--its a huge communal food bowl and some of the dogs have no breaks when it comes to food hence the weight gain.

I told my husband like you suggested--lets just take him, they will be mad for a while but will get over it eventually; we will get him treated, they will come visit and see him back to his healthy energetic self. Our new house has a lot of land for him to run around. I just feel bad for the dog although I had very little time with him, I see the difference from two years ago when we met and now in his agility, playfulness, etc he just looks depressed.

I did some reading on animal hoarding and it makes more and more sense to me that's the case here. THey have SO MANY animals of all kinds, none of them propertly taken care of...its a farm and they have a rescue mentality but cant handle all of them so i dont think it qualifies as animal abuse but in reality it ends up being cruel to the dog/cats to deny them vet care.
 

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Maybe pick him up to take him to the vet. Vet will be horrified, but will fix him up. Then just tell the inlaws that the vet said he couldn't go back there as he needs a massive health change (I'm sure the vet *will* say all this, lol).
 
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