There is little that tugs on the heartstrings more than a family pet that has been abandoned. A startling number of these stories involve a family suddenly moving and leaving a cat or dog behind, often on the property. If you happen to be the person who either rents or purchases the property, it’s important to understand your legal rights.
California lawmakers addressed the issues of abandoned pets. The law was designed to protect both landlords and incoming residents from inheriting responsibility for the pet the previous tenants left behind. All you have to do is report the pet to animal control. When you report the pet, local animal control officers will arrive at the property and remove the animal. Prior to the law change, everyone had to leave the pet where it was for a full two days after its discovery to see if the previous owners planned on returning for it.
This new law makes it possible for the pet to receive shelter, food, and any veterinary care it requires.
If you are getting ready to move and are considering leaving your pet behind, you need to think again. This is a serious problem that law officials are starting to really crack down on.
Even if there is a legitimate reason your pet can’t make the move with you, you’re legally obligated to take care of them. That means that if you aren’t able to convince a friend or family member to assume ownership, you’ll have to go through a shelter.
It’s important to understand that abandoning your pet dog or cat is illegal. The resulting charge is a misdemeanor. If you’re found guilty you could be fined $50-$500 and possibly spend time in jail.
If the stress of the move causes a pet to run away, you need to report them as a lost animal as quickly as possible. Reporting them as lost not only increases the odds of them getting safely returned to your family but eliminates the possibility of your being charged with animal abandonment in California.