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Old 11-16-2012, 09:24 PM
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Challenging Human Society Contracts

I have an out of state relative who purchased her beloved pet dog (Not a golden retriever) from a humane society. She left with the impression that she would be reimbursed part of her purchase price if she neutered him within 30 days, but that if she decided not to neuter him, there would be no consequences other than not getting reimbursed part of the fee she'd already paid (I think the potential reimbursement was somewhere in the range of $50-$100).

She decided not to neuter her dog, and now the humane society has contacted her claiming that they can and will fine her $500 if she does not neuter the dog immediately.

What legal options does she have? Has anyone won in court against one of these groups and had a contract nullified? Can the humane society initiate the fine through law enforcement, or would they have to sue for breach of contract?

Unfortunately, I was not consulted before this purchase, or I would have strongly advised that she not get a dog from a humane society or rescue because of exactly these sort of requirements and strong arm tactics, and the way they mislead people about precisely how much control they are going to try to exert over an already purchased pet. I don't know what specifically was in the contract she signed, and she doesn't know either (I'd also advise people to never sign something they haven't read, and to save copies of contracts to consult later in case of a situation like this, but I wasn't asked about that in advance either).

I don't think she'll be purchasing from a human society or rescue again no matter how this goes from here on in. Restrictive requirements and strong arm tactics have once again pushed someone into likely exclusively buying from backyard breeders or private individuals selling their family pets.

If anyone is about to respond "Just get the dog neutered" or go on a pro-neutering pro-contract rant, please keep it to yourself. I'm looking for resources that could help my relative protect her pet from a procedure she deems unnecessary and potentially harmful, and from an absurdly large fine she might have trouble being able to pay. In other words, help for my relative, not a debate. Thanks.

Last edited by Golden999; 11-16-2012 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:28 PM
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What does her paperwork that I'm assuming she signed say?
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:29 PM
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I suggest your relative consult an attorney in the state in which she resides. She should take with her a copy of the contract.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:32 PM
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OK I promise to keep my opinions about neutering out of it If she lost her paperwork she may be able to go to their website and download a standard copy, I know I'm able to do that with my local HS.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:32 PM
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I've never heard of a dog being released unneutered. Maybe that is just Maine.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljilly28 View Post
I've never heard of a dog being released unneutered. Maybe that is just Maine.
True here too, no dog can leave their premises until after they've been fixed.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:34 PM
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She needs to get a lawyer, and they probably can send a demand letter for a copy of the contract she signed. Once they have the contract they can determine what recourse she has.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:36 PM
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If she doesn't have paperwork which I'm surprised there isn't any as every shelter I've worked with to include those in the rural south gave you something, what humane society is it? Perhaps they have a website where the policies are stated.

If she can't afford the fine, I'm guessing she also can't afford to retain a lawyer. She can get the dog neutered (pretty easy to find low cost spay/neuter programs if money is an issue), she can wait to see if she's fined or she can return the dog to the humane society...lots of options, and unfortunately that pup is at the mercy of your relative.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ljilly28 View Post
I've never heard of a dog being released unneutered. Maybe that is just Maine.
I know of many shelters in the South that don't have the resources to spay/neuter which is why they work tirelessly with rescues trying to get the dogs/cats placed cause they know the rescues will take care of it.
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Old 11-16-2012, 09:45 PM
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Most rescues spay or neuter before adoption, when I adopted Calvin, he was 10 weeks old, I had to sign a contract that he would be neutered by 6 months old. I think it is fairly common to have to sign a contract agreeing to spay/neuter. Why didn't she want to neuter him?
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