Reading a blog post about pet rescuers, I came across a link to an adoption contract. It’s a contract that is intended for use between a pet rescue organization and individuals adopting pets from the organization. The contract includes this provision (the typos are in the original as I found it, I’m not going to correct them):
“It is agreed that rescuer shall retain superior title in said animal, limited to and for the express purpose of assuring the animal's well-being, and only exercise it's superior claim in the event it appears to rescue that the proper and humane care, as specified in the above adoption provisions, is not being afforded said animal, in which case the animal may be taken through a claim and delivery proceeding.”
Pets are personal property. This contract says that the pet you adopt isn’t your property, it remains the property of the rescue organization, and they can repossess the pet if it appears to them that the pet is not being cared for properly.
The contract also says this (again, the mangled syntax is in the original as I found it):
“If the terms and conditions of this contract are not upheld by the adopter, and/or any misrepresentations have been made by the adopter, rescuer reserves the right to terminate this contract and the adopters will agree to allow a representative of rescuer to reclaim the dog without notice or refund. The adopter further agrees to pay liquidated damages, in the amount of fifty (50) dollars per day, for every day that the adopter fails to comply with the agreement terms, or willingly surrender the dog at time the incident has become knowledge to rescuer.”
This provision of the contract says the rescue organization can terminate the contract if you violate any of the terms. In that event, if the pet that they are allowing you to keep (so it isn’t really an adoption at all) isn’t returned, you owe them $50 per day in “liquidated damages.” “Liquidated damages” is a contract term in which the parties agree ahead of time what the damages will be if one of the parties breaches the contract. How they came up with $50 per day, I can’t imagine.
Wow, I never knew adopting a pet would require this kind of contractual analysis.
I found the contract through a blog post at PJ Media’s PJ Lifestyle blog.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.