Reiter-Gottesman v. Verbell
Judicial Hearing Officer Eileen Nadelson
Reiter-Gottesman sought to recovery her dog, Chachi, allegedly taken by defendants, her mother's neighbors, who refused to return him despite repeated demands. Defendants claimed the dog was given to them by the mother as a gift. The mother admitted she permitted defendants to take Chachi, but sought to retrieve the dog subsequently, and was refused. The court stated one could not possess or claim custody to property belonging to another, noting even if the mother promised or offered Chachi to defendants, it was not hers to do so. Both sides adamantly rejected any alternative to obtaining possession of Chachi upon the court's inquiry of the current monetary value of the dog. As such, it ruled the only option was to award the dog to its rightful owner, Reiter-Gottesman. The court concluded plaintiff sufficiently showed she was the original, legal owner of the dog, finding in her favor, and ordering defendants to return Chachi to her without any monetary or reimbursement award to either party. The court noted a failure to return the dog or otherwise comply with the court's order within 20 days by defendants allowed plaintiff to seek enforcement by an execution served by the sheriff or marshall.