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Lawyer Lloyd

posted September 16th, 2012 by
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by Lloyd Benedict

Dear Lawyer Lloyd,

Q: Yesterday, I took my 3-yearold dog to a vet for an eye infection. The vet told me that my dog had to be neutered and have a rabies vaccination and be licensed, and that I was breaking the law if I did not have that done then. I reluctantly agreed and ended up paying a vet bill of $265 when it would have only been around $65 for the eye infection appointment. What can I do about this? Should I report the vet? Are my constitutional rights being violated here because my dog is my property, and how can anyone tell me how to handle my property?


T-Party Tammy



Dear T-Party,

A: Really? Good grief; what planet are you from? There is no need to research what our Founding Fathers wrote with their quill pens concerning pet laws, as Tulsa has been kind enough to easily explain everything in their Ordinances. As such, you should take careful note that it is unlawful in Tulsa to own any dog or cat over 4 months old, unless such dog or cat has a current vaccination against rabies and is licensed. A license for one year, which requires a one-year rabies vaccination, is $3.

Alternatively, Tulsa allows you to obtain a three-year license for $9 ($3 per year) as long as your pet receives a three-year rabies vaccination. A violation of this Ordinance could cost you a $75 fine per each unlicensed dog or cat and another $75 fine for each that is unvaccinated.

You should also take note that Tulsa law requires every pet owner to attach a current license tag, for the animal, to collars or harnesses worn by his or her dogs or cats unless the dog or cat is permanently and uniquely identified with a microchip implant or tattoo. Violators of this offense can be fined $200.

Furthermore, it is unlawful to harbor, keep or possess a dog or cat over the age of 6 months, which has not been spayed or neutered unless the owner has secured a hobbyist exemption permit. In the event an owner of a dog or cat over the age of 6 months is unable to produce a current license or license tag for his dog or cat, a rebuttable presumption is created that the dog or cat has not been spayed or neutered. Every person violating this law shall be guilty of an offense and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $200, excluding costs, fees and assessments.

The way I see it, that vet saved you from receiving a fine of $475, not to mention the cost you would have incurred if your dog was impounded. If I were you, I would call that vet and thank him for doing the right thing, and stop using your warped sense of politics to dodge your lawful obligations and responsibilities as a pet owner.


Lloyd K. Benedict

Legal Column

posted July 15th, 2011 by
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Dear Lawyer Lloyd,
Q. I have a neighbor that really dislikes me and my two dogs. I have done everything I can for the past few years to be cordial to this guy, but he has made comments like, “Boy, I would hate to be your dog if he ever got in my yard.” Recently, I was walking my dogs past his house and he said, “You know I work on my cars all the time and if some antifreeze leaks out and your dogs drink it, then that would just be tragic.” I have called the police but they said they cannot do anything since he hasn’t broken any laws. What can I do about his threats and what can I do legally if he poisons my dogs?
Thank you, Frustrated in Owasso

Dear Frustrated,
A. This is a three part question and a subject I am asked about often.
First, there is the threat. In reality, they amount to threats against you and your property. Therefore, the police can do something about the matter. In fact, you can demand an emergency protective order (EPO) for you and your pets’ safety. The police have the forms with them to issue EPOs.
The EPO is a temporary solution until the matter goes before a Judge. After you contact police and request an EPO be filed, you’ll be given the opportunity for a hearing in Court and so will the person the EPO is filed against. If the Judge agrees that you have a “real threat of imminent harm against you and your pets,” then he may issue a permanent protective order against your neighbor.
If your neighbor harms you or your pets while he has been ordered to leave you alone, then the punishment for such a crime will be considerably more substantial than without the protective order.
The second part of your question has a legal and pet health answer. I visited the ASPCA’s pet poison control website for some helpful tips.
The site advises not to panic.

Respond rapidly, but take a minute or so to safely collect and have in hand any materials you think are involved in harming your pet. This may be of great benefit to your vet and/or APCC toxicologists, as they determine what substance your dog may have ingested.
If the pet needs veterinary attention, be sure to take the substance’s container. Also, collect in a sealed plastic bag any material your pet may have vomited or chewed. If you witness your pet consuming material that you suspect might be toxic, do not hesitate to seek emergency assistance, even if you do not notice any adverse effects.
Sometimes, even if poisoned, an animal may appear normal for several hours or for days after the incident.
Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) at (888) 426-4435.

There is a $65 consultation fee. The website notes that if your pet is having seizures, losing consciousness, is unconscious, or is having difficulty breathing, telephone ahead and go immediately to your veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic. If necessary, he or she may call the APCC.
Finally, there are legal aspects to your question. Pets are considered a personal property in Oklahoma, so harm to a pet is damaging your property. If your neighbor poisoned your pet, and you can prove that he did it, then he/she would be liable to pay for the value of your pet in the event of death.
They would also be responsible for costs associated with the loss, including veterinary bills, burial or cremation expenses, and any other reasonable out of pocket expenses.
The neighbor may be liable for punitive damages as well since his conduct would be egregious.

You may also be entitled to claim damages for mental anguish if you have some type of physical manifestation resulting from the mental anguish. An example of this would be loss of sleep and appetite, stomach ache, headaches, etc., but those damages are sometimes hard for a physician to relate them to mental anguish.
I am sorry to hear your problem and hope your neighbor does not act upon his threats. Hopefully, it’s all talk, as it is most of the time.
Sincerely, Lawyer Lloyd

Dear Lawyer Lloyd:
Q. I am disabled and I have a service dog to assist me. Recently my Landlord said I could not keep a service dog in my rental home and is threatening to evict me if I do not “get rid of my mutt.” First of all, I am completely offended by his comments against my well-trained, certified service dog. Secondly, can he evict me over this?
Thanks, D.K. Tulsa

Dear D.K.
A. The quick answer is maybe. Yes, he can evict you if your lease prohibits guide, signal, or service dog animals.
In fact Oklahoma has a Law that addresses this exact issue.
Specifically, Oklahoma Statutes Title 41 of the Residential Landlord and Tenant Act. § 113.1. titled “Denial or termination of tenancy because of guide, signal or service dog” states that “A landlord shall not deny or
terminate a tenancy to a blind, deaf, or physically handicapped person because of the guide, signal, or service dog of such person unless such dogs are specifically prohibited in the rental agreement entered into prior to November 1, 1985.” If your lease does not SPECIFICALLY prohibit such dogs, (even if it excludes ordinary dogs) then your landlord would be in violation of Oklahoma Law if he attempts to evict you for that specific reason.
Since evictions are handled through the small claims Court, then you will be allowed to appear at the eviction proceedings filed by the landlord, and state your case. Be sure to bring evidence that your dog is a service dog as well as evidence of your disability (if your disability is not obvious), as well as paperwork showing your physician has recommended that you maintain a service dog.

Good luck, Lawyer Lloyd