Pa State adoption laws according to the SPCA?

I live in Blair County and I answered an ad to get a female puppy for free. After 24 hours we bathed the dog 3 times due to fleas, and realzed she had an extreme case of kennel cough with mucus flying out of her nose every time she sneezed. I contacted the previous owner who informed me he had gotten the dog one and a half weeks ago from the humane society. I did not believe him because of the dogs health condition. I contacted tthe humane society to find out that he told me the truth and to schedule an appointment with their vet. 6 hours after scheduling the appointment I was contacted by the humane society who told me I was in illegal possesion off the dog. They informed me to either surrender the dog or come down and sign an adoption contract with them. I feel my constitutional rights are being violated by being forced to sign a contract that I was no party to. They have threatened me with imprisionment and or fine if i do not return the dog or sign the contract. We wish to keep her

Asked by Member 1063256 on Oct 13th 2011 in Laws & Legislation
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Jax (earned her wings 5/30/12)

I would contact a lawyer and have a consult with them to find out what your rights are. I know that some states are very strict. I find it hard to believe that the Humane Society let a sick dog go. That may be something you can argue. I would not sign a contract with them since, as you said, you were not part of the original agreement. Looking from their side of it, they may just want to keep tabs on the dog. Again, it sounds like you would take good care of her, so I would argue that they let a sick dog get adopted out. Good Luck!

Jax (earned her wings 5/30/12) answered on 10/13/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


They may be in the right here, but check your local laws. Up here, when you adopt from the SPCA you sign a contract saying you will not get rid of the dog, & if you must rehome, the dog must be returned to the shelter. would be in illegal possession, but the original adopter would be the one who breached the contract. BUT they will want to know where the dog has gone, so sounds reasonable to have YOU sign a new adoption contract. As far paying any more money...I would consult a lawyer for that.

Member 904338 answered on 10/13/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Geddy Lee of Rushville

Wow that is a whammy!!! All you were trying to do was adopt a dog and had no idea that the dog was from a shelter until asking the previous owner. The previous owner is the one in the wrong not you. However I would for sure contact a lawyer because they are threatening you. I would also call the local authorities dept of agriculture and markets and tell them the condition of the dog. It sounds like the previous owner just didnt read the contract. At this point you are the owner and it is not a crime to take a dog from another person if they are the legal owner... So Good luck with this I am praying that they dont take the dog from you, that would be absurd and a waste of the dogs life because it would only be sitting back in that shelter. So very sad.
Stacy Parks, Dip. CBST, ABCDT

Geddy Lee of Rushville answered on 10/14/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


When people adopt dogs from the SPCA it is more like a rental than a actual transfer of ownership. They reserve the right to the animal and you are just the keeper. Therefore you cannot transfer ownership without their approval. The dog technically still belongs to the SPCA and the previous 'owner' had no right to give the dog to you. It is the equivalent of someone giving you their car when it still has a car note. You either need to give it back or officially take responsibility for it.

Flash answered on 11/2/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Hi, I stumbled on your question during a search for PA dog adoption laws. I adopted a beagle mix Jan. 6, 2012, by contract, I agree to give the dog back if I am no longer able to care for her. The previous owner was legally bound to give her back to the humane society. I am truly sorry for your pain. I am writing because of what you said about the dog's condition. Believe it. My dog, adopted on the 6th of Jan, I took to the vet the very next morning, the 7th. She has mammary tumors, very hard, large with nodules. She had been at the shelter for only 2.5 weeks prior. It's been a month now, and I've paid over a grand in bills and am tending to a dog that should never have been considered adoptable because of her insurmountable health issues that were absolutely present during her stay at this shelter. These people are rude, inefficient, cold and in dire need of a vet on their staff. They provide a building for pets to live in rather than run loose, that's it.I pray you have your dog back

Member 1090684 answered on 2/8/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer