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Dog Lawyers: 6 Reasons You May Need a Them for Your Pup

Written by: Jessica Kim

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Dogster Team

Happy man signing a contract while being with his wife on a meeting with financial advisor

Dog Lawyers: 6 Reasons You May Need a Them for Your Pup

While animal law is a fairly new and growing practice, it’s been a much-needed area of law for quite some time. Dogs can get involved or caught up in a variety of situations that require the expertise of an animal law attorney.

Working with an animal law attorney is one way to advocate for your dog and fight for their well-being. It can also ensure that both you and your dog receive proper representation.

We’ll go over some ways a lawyer for dog owners can help people navigate various disputes. Just keep in mind that the examples we provide don’t substitute legal advice. The best way to get help for your particular case is to consult an animal law attorney.

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The 6 Reasons You May Need a Lawyer for Your Pup

1. Veterinary Malpractice

Although rare, there have been cases of veterinary malpractice where a veterinarian harms or kills an animal out of abuse or negligence. If you suspect a veterinarian has done such harm to your dog, you can see legal advice from an animal law attorney for a clear understanding of your rights and what options you can take for your next move.

In some cases, you may be able to sue the veterinarian, and a dog lawyer can represent your case in court or help negotiate a settlement.

2. Dog Services Contracts

A dog lawyer can help you navigate dog service contract disputes. This is most often applicable to dog sitting, daycare, and boarding services. If you believe that such services have breached their contracts or provided inadequate care for your dog, you can consult a dog lawyer to determine how to pursue your case.

It’s also worth working with an animal law attorney to develop a contract if you’re interested in starting your own business that involves working with pets. This will ensure that your business is covered and protected if customer disputes arise.

a senior couple visiting a lawyer
Image Credit: fizkes, Shutterstock

3. Dangerous and Vicious Dog Disputes

Some people may choose to sue a dog owner if their dog has bitten or attacked them. They may file a complaint to declare your dog as dangerous and demand that they be removed from your home or be euthanized.

These types of cases often get emotional and can become complex. A dog lawyer can ease the burden by representing you and your dog and helping you gather the appropriate and relevant evidence to defend your dog.

4. Pet Custody

Dogs are beloved family members, and it’s important to know your pet ownership rights if you’re navigating a separation or divorce. Working with a dog lawyer will ensure you have a clear understanding of your rights and what all parties can and can’t do throughout the process of a divorce. An animal law attorney can also help you make negotiations, put together your pet’s living arrangements, and figure out visitations for your dog.

couple talking to a lawyer at the office
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

5. Tenant Laws and Pet Evictions

Finding pet-friendly housing is a common challenge for dog owners. Sometimes, living with a dog can cause tension between landlords and their tenants. While it’s true that some dogs may become a liability for apartment owners, it doesn’t justify discrimination and prejudices against all dogs.

If you feel that your landlord is treating you unfairly or taking advantage of their pet policy, you can consult a dog attorney to get a clear understanding of your rights. Tenant rights will vary state by state, and an animal law attorney can provide clarity and let you know what your landlord can and can’t do.

6. Pet Trusts and Wills

When you’re estate planning, it’s important to consider your pets and ensure they’re cared for in case they’re still living after you pass away. A dog lawyer can help you draft a will and create a pet trust. A pet trust is a type of trust that’s designed to help pay for costs related to your pet’s housing and care.

A pet trust is more thorough than a will, as it includes specific requirements for your dog’s care. It also ensures that your dog lives with a loving and responsible trustee who will use the money in the pet trust to care for your dog.

Will and testament
Image Credit: alexkich, Shutterstock

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How Much Does a Lawyer for Dog Owners Charge?

Consultation rates with an animal law attorney will depend on the law firm. Some law firms will charge hourly, while others have flat fees. Fees can also vary based on the attorney’s level of expertise, experience, and specialization. Therefore, billing rates have a wide range from about $150 to $2,500 per hour.

Some lawyers offer services based on a sliding scale for low-income families. You can also find several different programs that help connect people to affordable legal aid resources.

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Navigating animal law on your own can quickly become confusing and overwhelming. Working with a good and experienced dog owner can make the process much easier for you and help you obtain the best possible outcome for you and your dog. Resources for low-income families are also available. So, if you’re finding yourself in a dispute involving your dog, consider consulting an animal law attorney to understand your rights and know how to protect you and your dog.

Featured Image Credit: Drazen Zigic, Shutterstock

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