"Charity Board" Contract

This is a contract that I have used on a few occasions when an owner faced with a temporary emergency asked to surrender a dog or dogs to Rescue. These were situations in which the owner did not really want to give up the dogs and the emergency making it impossible for the owner to keep dogs in his possession was almost certainly of short duration. (Additionally, often the dogs were older ones which would have been hard to place.) In these cases I have offered a limited period of free board to enable the owner to deal with the emergency and resume ownership and caretaking of the dogs. I consider such "charity board" to be a proper corrollary to Rescue. It is essential to have a very clear statement of the time limitations and that if the dogs are not picked up by the owner at the end of that time, the dog becomes property of the Rescue or the rescuer. Without such a provision, the dogs could be left there indefinately in limbo, with the charitable caretaker not free to place them or otherwise deal with them. Please note that in California we have a very helpful Civil Code Section # 1834.5, sometimes referred to as the "Abandoned Animal Act", which regulates the caretaker's right to dispose of an animal placed in his care but not reclaimed in a timely fashion by the owner. If you are in some other state, check your state laws, and if nescessary draft a contract provision giving you equivalent rights to ownership and disposal if the dog is not picked up by a certain date.
This article is NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR CONSULTATION WITH AN ATTORNEY licensed in your state and conversant with the relevant laws of bailment. It is offered only for its suggestive value. I have only used it a few times and have never had any litigation arise out of its use. That does not guarrantee that you can't get in trouble using it.
The most usual reason why I have done charity board was because the owner was in between houses. The first time was a case where owners had failed to book a boarding kennel for their dogs for the period between the closing of the house that they were selling and the closing and move-in date of the house they were buying. The next time was a case of a man who dearly loved his dogs but was temporarily out of work and could not find a place to rent that would accept his dogs. Another time I was asked to care for a dog whose owner was about to undergo a month of cancer treatment at a facility out of reach of her home.
(Of course times when one is simply doing dog-sitting for a friend whom one trusts, this contract would not be appropriate. In those cases , do be sure to get a written permission to have the dog treated by any available vet if an emergency arises and to make decisions for the dog if the owner cannot be contacted quickly enough.)



This is an agreement between dog owner, ____________________________________, hereinafter referred to as Owner, and ________________________________, hereinafter referred to as Caretaker, for the board and care of the dog or dogs described as follows, hereinafter referred to as dogs :

(1) name: __________________________________________________
breed :_________________    age : ________    sex: __________

(2) name: __________________________________________________
breed : ____________    age : ________    sex: __________

From the date of ____________ until the date of ___________ Caretaker shall board the dog/dogs either in her home or in her outside run, which Owner has inspected, and shall provide dogs with drinking water and such food as the Owner shall have left with her for this purpose or such food as Caretaker thinks appropriate, and with other care as Caretaker thinks appropriate.

There shall be no charge for such board up through the date of ___________. Caretaker is providing board gratuitously for the welfare of these dogs and for the purpose of enabling the Owner to retain ownership of dogs during a period of emergency in owner's life. Owner understands that in such a gratuitous bailment, the Caretaker has the legal duty of only slight care.

Owner is aware of the available alternative of boarding these dogs with a professional boarding kennel, for which typical charges would be upwards of $______ per dog per day. In return for free board , as conditioned above, Owner agrees to hold Caretaker completely free of any and all liability for any harm which might befall these dogs , whether or not such harm should result from any fault , negligence , or wrongdoing on the part of Caretaker; moreover Owner agrees to reimburse Caretaker and hold her harmless for any damage which these dogs might do to Caretaker, to Caretaker's own dogs, or to Caretakers other property, or to the person or property of any other person.

Owner represents and warrantees to Caretaker as follows : (1) that, to his certain knowledge, none of these dogs have bitten anyone within the past 3 weeks, (2) that, to the best of Owner's knowledge, none of these dogs have ever bitten or attempted to bite any person at any time whatsoever , (3) that, to the best of Owner's knowledge, none of these dogs have ever escaped or attempted to escape from any fenced enclosure or yard, (4) that, to the best of Owner's knowledge, none of these dogs has any inclination to be aggressive towards other dogs or to participate in dog-fights, and (5) that all of these dogs are currently immunized against Rabies, Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, and Parvo (on ________ Rabies, _______DHLPPv). Owner has provided or will provide promptly written proof of Rabies vaccination in the form of certificate signed by the vet.

Owner authorizes Caretaker to obtain veterinary treatment for any of these dogs if at any time in Caretaker's judgement such treatment seems advisable or necessary, and owners promise to pay any and all bills resulting from such treatment and to reimburse Caretaker fully for any such bills she may have paid. Such treatment may be obtained from any vet of Caretaker's choice. The customary vet for these dogs is ___________________________ located at ___________________ ___________________., phone number _______________. and fax number _______________________ . Owner has notified or shall notify said vet that Caretaker has authority to obtain treatment or to ask for records or information for use by another vet. However Owner's recognize that Caretaker will probably choose to use her own local vet, __________________________, or ___________________________ Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Owner promises to use his utmost efforts to "get his act together" , including renting a place to live where dogs are welcome, so that he will be able to pick up his dogs on or before the date _______________ and to resume of ownership and guardianship over these dogs from thence foreward for the remainder of the dogs' natural lives.

Owner is aware of the provisions of Calif Civil Code # 1834.5, sometimes referred to as the "Abandoned Animal Act", which regulates the caretaker's right to dispose of an animal placed in his care but not reclaimed in a timely fashion by the owner. This act provides that when an animal is not picked up by the owner within 14 days of the date due to be picked up, that animal is deemed abandoned. Upon such abandonment, the caretaker shall for a period of not less than 10 days try to find a new owner for the animal. If unable to find such a new owner, after 10 days the caretaker has the right to arrange for the humane destruction of the animal.

In view of the requirements of the Abandoned Animal Act, Owners recognize that the date the dogs are due to be picked up by Owner is __________ and that the date the dogs shall be deemed to have been abandoned shall be 14 days thereafter, ie on ____________. If Owner is not able to resume duties of ownership and caretaking by that date, _____________, the dogs shall become the legal and moral property of Caretaker on that date. If so, Caretaker promises to use her skills and efforts to find permanent loving and responsible homes for these dogs, but she cannot promise to be successful in these attempts.

Owners have been warned and are fully aware that these dogs would be extremely difficult to place in new homes. Owners understand that if Caretaker is not able to find homes that she considers to be appropriate within some period which she considers to be reasonable and after efforts which she considers to be reasonable , she will probably be forced to have them euthanized , ie killed. Owners understand that as part of attempts to find new homes , it will be essential that Caretaker have the dog _____________ spayed/neutered. In the event that Owner has not picked up these dogs prior to the abandonment date of ________, Owner shall have absolutely no recourse against Caretaker for having the above described surgery performed , for any other actions Caretaker may take as part of an attempt to place these dogs, and Owner shall have no recourse against Caretaker for placing these dogs in new ownership nor for having these dogs humanely destroyed if she is unable to find acceptable responsible new homes for them.

signed :

Owner : ___________________________
date ___________
current phone (_______) : ______________________
address : ____________________________________

Caretaker : ____________________________
date __________
current phone (_______) : ______________________
address : ____________________________________


site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 2000 revised 8/3/03
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