Attn: Those of you with dogs and/or cats
As some of you know, my brother was murdered in Japan, August 2002. He had a blue heeler, Jock, who he had raised from a pup. I was looking after Jock, and preparing him to travel to Japan around September last year. Now, I had to go to Japan in a hurry to make sure he wasn't cremated and scattered (according to Japanese custom). Whilst I was away, my ex-girlfriend stole Jock.
At this time she had known Jock for the last 2 of his 7 years, and lived with him during part of 2000, when she lived at my house. Claiming she looked after him for 3 years, she micro-chipped and registered him in her name.
Now we are having a devil-of-a-time trying to legally get Jock back into the family. We cannot go and steal him because of the chip, otherwise that would have been done about 30 sec after we got back.
Jock was never chipped because he didn't have to under law until September last year. And because he was going to Japan, he didn't need to be chipped to live over there.
Legally, Jock was part of Johns estate. As he didn't leave a will, under Intestacy Mum and Dad (next of kin) are the only people who can make a claim on his estate. He didnt have a wife or kids, and I'm the only sibling. So as far as I'm concerned, the ex has:
A: Stolen from Johns estate
B: Taken a registered animal away from its home address without the owners permission (Breach of Companion Animals Act)
C: Kept an animal that wasn't rightfully theirs without handing the animal over to the pound or returning it to the owners (Breach of Companion Animals Act)
D: Produced fraudulent documents or provided false witness to get the animal chipped
E: Produced fraudulent documents or provided false witness to get the animal registered.
MY WARNING TO YOU:
Go and chip your animals. Because, under the Companion Animals Act (This may be a NSW only law, not sure if its Commonwealth), the only requirement for chipping is possession.
Thats right, if you have the dog/cat in your possession, you can chip them. All you have to do is claim you own the animal, and that the animal normally resides on your property and you can chip them. You dont have to provide proof of ownership. You dont have to provide a vet history, even if the dog is a 7 year old male. This also means if you have puppies, especially valuable ones, if they're stolen they can be chipped without proof of ownership.
The problem is that the law was created to make it easy for the animal to be chipped and registered. It makes no provisions for the theft of a dog. To get ownership of Jock back, we have to basically mount a custody challenge.
So please, if you haven't chipped, get you animal chipped. If you expecting a litter soon, guard the mother and the litter very carefully until they can be chipped. Once they're chipped, its nigh on impossible to get them back.
"Be sure to leave your underpants with someone you can trust"