I have searched and searched for a legal definition of a Pet Surrender of Ownership. In light that no documentation obtained, “abandon” is the legal definition for the event. Abandonment coerced using undisclosed cost.
The Texas Attorney General has been proposed this question before. May a veterinarian refuse to return an animal to its owner if the latter is unable to pay for the veterinary medical services rendered?
Opinion No. JC-042 1 Attorney General Opinion
The Answer is No.
Pet owner is not absolved of any debt to the vet, but the pet can not be held. The law dictates that the veterinarian must follow the proper statutory requirements of the law. The pet is considered abandoned and the pet owner has 12 days to reclaim the pet. The Veterinarian has 3 days send a certified letter to the owner notifying the pet owner to reclaim their animal.
To maintain that state of abandonment, was the reason why the pet owner was not allowed to see the pet the next day. The pet owner was refused any contact and told to leave a note for the employee in possession of the animal. However, Dr. Sutton states that Dr. Morelli specifically instructed the employee not to make any contact (Dr. Sutton email 4/22/14)
Furthermore, such an animal may not be considered “abandoned” for purposes of section 801.357 of the Texas Occupations Code so long as the owner makes a good faith effort to reclaim it. (Opinion No. JC-0421)
Not only did Hometown Animal Care not fulfill their legal obligation to provide 12 days, the criteria for Abandonment was not met. With both parties verifying that significant payment ($1500 CareCredit) was offered up front. Instead Dr. O’Hair and Dr. Morelli chose to offer all medical care at the expense of the Hospital. With Dr. O'Hair admitting that the pet's release was denied preventing the owner from taking the pet to the primary veterinarian, those action are contrary to the Texas Attorney General's Statement
Because you have asked us to assume that the owner “makes a good faith effort to arrange with the veterinarian to make installment payments and otherwise insists that he wants the animal returned,” we conclude as a matter of law that the owner in such circumstances has not “abandoned” his animal. (Opinion No. JC-0421)
Since HTAC did not comply with the statutory notice requirements of section 801.357 of the Occupations Code, their employee did not have any right to claim my pet are early as was done. (First mentioned as part of the Dr. O’Hair’s Surgical notes.) The twelve day waiting period did not occur along with the registered letter
As of the 13th day, however, the statute deems the animal to be “abandoned.” In that case, the animal may be “appropriated by another person,” and accordingly, the veterinarian may dispose of the animal as he sees fit. (Opinion No. JC-0421).
Because the statutes were not followed, according to Opinion No. JC-0421, The pet owner has the right to claim Hunter back regardless of the amount of the time that had passed (02/27/14 to 04/21/14).
If the veterinarian has not complied with the statutory notice requirements, he may not at any time refuse to return the animal to its owner upon demand
This has caused the following:
Furthermore, refusal to return the animal may amount to conversion. Conversion “occurs when one who is unauthorized wrongfully assumes and exercises dominion and control over another’s property, to the exclusion of the true owner’s rights, even though possession of the property may have originally been acquired by lawful means.” (Opinion No. JC-0421)