A Perth woman has discovered that the best way to prove ownership of your dog and avoid costly legal disputes is to keep Fido’s registration up to date.
The State Administrative Tribunal recently decided on the case involving ‘Goldy’, a white-gold cavoodle or spoodle, who found himself in the Wanneroo pound with two owners claiming ownership over him.
Goldy was originally owned by a Mrs Jeffrey before being given to a person known as ‘Donna’.
Donna microchipped Goldy in 2010, but later returned him to Mrs Jeffrey for personal reasons.
Mrs Jeffrey then gave Goldy to Ms Stevens, the applicant in the case. Ms Stevens registered Goldy in late 2012.
After having her second child, Ms Stevens gave Goldy to her friends, Mr and Mrs Palmer. Mr and Mrs Palmer did not know that they had to re-register Goldy after the registration expired in October 2013.
In mid-2014, the unregistered Goldy managed to escape, but was impounded by the City of Wanneroo.
Mr Palmer found Goldy on the pound’s website and was told to collect the dog after 4pm that day.
However, by the time Mr Palmer went to collect Goldy, the dog had already been collected by the person named on the microchip – that is, Donna.
Claiming ownership of Goldy, Ms Stevens applied to the Tribunal to overturn the City of Wanneroo’s decision to release Goldy to Donna.
Under the Dog Act 1976, a dog is presumed to be owned by the person named on a microchip. However, it is possible for a subsequent owner of the dog to rebut this presumption by having the dog registered.
As Goldy’s registration had expired, the Tribunal held that the correct decision was to give Goldy to Donna.
The Tribunal acknowledged that its decision may have been different if Goldy had been registered.
The above article is for general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters please contact our office on Freecall 1800 609 945 or email us now.