Recently we represented a client in a small claims division case. However, this case was different from your typical small claims case. The case was about a couple in a contentious custody battle over who gets to keep their furry friend. The main point taken from this case is the importance of proper documentation and legal representation in pet custody matters like this.


A recent pet custody dispute case in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court of NSW highlights the importance of proper documentation and legal representation in such matters.

Our law firm was proud to have solicitor Daniel Rod appear on behalf of our client in this case. The case involved a Maltese Shitzu dog and two parties that had separated three years prior. The plaintiff’s claim was made under the law of detinue, where the defendant had refused to return the dog to the plaintiff.

The plaintiff claimed that the dog was a gift to her from the defendant and that the parties had reached an agreement after they separated. The agreement was that the plaintiff would maintain ownership of the dog in exchange for payment of $1,000 to the defendant. The defendant disputed this claim and stated that he had transferred ownership of the dog to the plaintiff through the Companion Animals Act, but without transferring the ownership.

The defendant also claimed that because he had not signed the agreement, he was the rightful owner of the dog. However, through thorough preparation and representation, our client successfully argued that the dog was a gift to her from the defendant and that the parties had also entered into a valid contract that entitled the plaintiff to be the dog’s legal owner. After five months in court, the plaintiff was awarded her costs and the dog was returned to her, much to her delight.


Through our own experiences, our lawyers have seen pet ownership and custody disputes become increasingly common. this is when the law of detinue can play a significant role in resolving these types of cases. The law of detinue is a legal principle that governs the ownership and control of personal property. This principle can apply to pets such as dogs and cats, in order to help determine the rightful owner of a pet in disputes. In general, the law of detinue holds that if a person has possession of someone else’s property, they must return it to the rightful owner upon demand. This principle can applied to pets and can be used to resolve disputes over their ownership and custody. For example, if one party claims that a pet dog was given as a gift and the other party disputes this claim, the law of detinue can be used to determine the pet’s rightful owner. Furthermore, it is important to note that the law of detinue can only be used in cases where property ownership is in dispute. If the ownership of the pet dog is clear and undisputed, the law of detinue may not apply. In these cases, other legal principles, such as or property law, may be used to determine the pet’s rightful owner.

Another important factor to consider in pet custody disputes is the agreement between the parties. If the parties have reached a clear agreement regarding the ownership and custody of the pet dog, this agreement may take precedence over the law of detinue. It’s essential to have a written agreement to avoid disputes and provide evidence in court if necessary. It’s also worth mentioning that the Companion Animals Act of NSW governs the state’s ownership and transfer of pet dogs. This act sets out the procedures for registering and transferring ownership of pet dogs, which may impact the resolution of pet custody disputes. In some cases, the act may be used to determine the rightful owner of a pet dog, especially if the ownership is not in dispute and the parties have yet to reach a clear agreement. In conclusion, pet custody disputes can be complex and emotionally charged, but they can be resolved efficiently and effectively with the right legal representation.


If you find yourself in a similar situation, do not hesitate to seek the guidance and representation of a qualified solicitor who can help protect your rights and interests. Our law firm has extensive experience handling pet custody disputes and related matters. We are committed to providing our clients with the best possible outcome and ensuring that their rights are protected.

Contact us today to learn how we can help with your case.