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.