Nine months ago I found a lost dog with no tags, no collar, etc. I reported the lost dog found to the appropriate authorities. I took the dog to the vet to see if it was microchipped and it wasn't. I put up signs in the general vicinity and no calls. I went around to all the adjacent buildings and put up signs there. Nine months later, I now see a sign that says "lost dog 6 months ago" and the photo matches the dog I have.

My preference would be to keep the dog, but I'd be curious to hear other people's thoughts on the matter.
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Hi

You might find this article useful. You don't say which part of the world you are in, so you'll need to check what the local laws are in your area. But as you have reported the dog to the appropriate authorities I would contact them and ask what the statutory period of time is before the dog legally belongs to you.

Hope that helps. Do let us know how it turns out.
Are you 100% sure it's the same dog? I wonder why they wrote 6 moths back while 9 have passed.

In any case, I must confess I wouldn't be certain about what to do, either. On the one hand, the owner may be missing the dog very much especially if the family has children, so reuniting could be a real happiness for them all. On the other hand, I wouldn't know how well the dog had been treated and whether it had had all necessary care and love, so knowing for sure it's happy with me would be somewhat more comfortable. In what condition was the dog when you found it? If it was healthy and well fed, perhaps it was in a good home. I think if you decide to meet the owner, the dog's reaction will clear up all doubts. Perhaps, you could even talk with the owner asking him to let you keep the doggie if it has really got used to you and your home.

I don't not consider legal issues because as Opti said it's not clear what country you come from. Besides, I'm not really familiar with such procedures.
I have spoken with a bylaw officer within my region, as well as an Animal control rep, and my vet and they all believe that the dog legally now belongs to me. I feel confident that I have substantial legal evidence substantiating that the dog now belongs to me (though I'm still waiting for "official" word)... I guess I'm more curious to hear everyone's thoughts re: the ethical dilemma here...

On the one hand, the dog belonged to them and they lost it for whatever reason; on the other hand, the dog is about 2 years old and I've had it for 9 months now. There were never any signs posted until now and of course, the dog is now a part of our family. I feel like I would like to contact the owner and explain to them my side, but of course, this would open a Pandora's box... Would really welcome everyone's $0.02.
I know where I live if you report it to the police they will take the dog for a week long holding period and if no body claims it then you can either adopt the dog or it will go to the local shelter. With that being the local law where I live I would say legally you could keep the dog. You should look into it though.
AnonymousOn the one hand, the dog belonged to them and they lost it for whatever reason; on the other hand, the dog is about 2 years old and I've had it for 9 months now. There were never any signs posted until now and of course, the dog is now a part of our family. I feel like I would like to contact the owner and explain to them my side, but of course, this would open a Pandora's box... Would really welcome everyone's $0.02.
If the dog feels great in your family and if there have been no signs posted till now, I'd say you should keep it. From the ethical point of view, a good thing would be to call the former owners and to just let them know the animal is fine but that you're keeping it since a lot of time passed and the dog got used to you and your family and is happy now. You can never know what kind of people you'll get across of course but hopefully they will understand. If they don't, I think the law will be on your side because of the time passed.

What breed is this dog by the way?

It's a pity dogs can't tell us what family they want to stay with.
Keep the dog and don't feel bad about it. If the owners were REALLY caring, I don't think they would have waited for almost a year to post the signs.
Thank you for all your opinions. Just to add some perspective, what if we removed the legalilties from the equation?

By giving the original owner the benefit of the doubt:

- What if they DID put up signs in an area different from where it was lost?

- What if they called the local dog shelter and the person who answered the phone didn't see the report of the found dog?

- What if you lost your dog, looked everywhere, did everything you could to find it and 9 months later learned that your dog was still okay? Wouldn't you want your dog back?
LaurenFrom the ethical point of view, a good thing would be to call the former owners and to just let them know the animal is fine but that you're keeping it since a lot of time passed and the dog got used to you and your family and is happy now.

I agree with you; however, this could potentially make things worse for both parties. I feel that the original owner would not necessarily agree with this positon.

f you give the dog back, which has spent the past 9 months with you, that could harm the dog more than anyone else. So you need to consider what is best for THE DOG, not you or the other family.

If you do give the dog back, would you consider getting another dog since one seems to fit well into your family? Maybe this reasoning will break your heart less in case you decide to give it back.

I personally wouldn't give it back if the dog is happy now. Any big change and move like that will disturb the dog more, and we, as humans are more capable of adapting. So if anything, they should possibly consider getting another dog to be fair on the old dog who now is comfortable in the new home.
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