On 1/16/07, Rowena wrote:
> Long story short, our shelter had a B&G surrendered to us
> in the middle of the night last November. The previous
> owner was homeless and addicted poor girl! We took the
> bird out of a terrible living situation and have
> rehabilitated him, vetted him, and have him adopted out to
> a new home.
> Now, the previous owner is trying to get him back saying
> she needs him to pay off a money debt to her supplier.
> She did not sign a surrender form at the time, but we have
> verifiable witnesses to state that she came to us and
> requested that we take her bird. Including the manager of
> the pet shop where she had used to work.
> What can or need we do to both protect this bird and
> ourselves? Any "legal eagles" out there? Thanks.
Unfortunately, without a signed surrender form, you have no
verifiable, documented proof that the bird was willingly
given up. However, given her addiction,she will not make a
very credible witness in the eyes of the court. Add that to
the fact that you have credible (hopefully) witnesses to back
up your shelters word, you have a good chance of winning a
legal battle. Given that she has no money, I doubt she will
be too anxious to hire a lawyer and file a lawsuit.
Depending on your states laws and what the maximum suit
amount is, the 'market' value of the bird may make the suit
too big for small claims court, and a full lawsuit would be
very expensive. For the sake of your shelters reputation, as
well as future suits, I hope that in the future you will not
take in a bird without the proper paperwork being filled