Who owns the puppies?
"I have a pet named Coco. She is a female dog. One time, because of Coco’s excessive whining and recklessness inside our home, my mom decided to bring her outside in the dog house. However, to our surprise, one male dog somehow was able to surreptitiously enter the dog house. A few months later, Coco gave birth to five cute puppies, which surprised us again. Our neighbor who heard the news claimed that they own the male dog and is asking whether they can have these puppies. Can they legally claim any right to these puppies?
No. Under Republic Act 386, otherwise known as the “Civil Code of the Philippines,” an animal is considered as a property and to the owner of a property belong the natural fruits thereof, which include the young of an animal. To be precise, under Articles 416, 440, and 442 of the said law, it is provided that:“Article 416. The following things are deemed to be personal property:
“(1) Those movables susceptible of appropriation, which are not included in the preceding article xxx“Article 440. The ownership of property gives the right by accession to everything which is produced thereby, or which is incorporated or attached thereto, either naturally or artificially. xxx
“Art. 442. Natural fruits are the spontaneous products of the soil, and the young and other products of animals. xxx.” (Emphasis supplied)Elucidating on the above-quoted provisions of law, the Supreme Court in the case of Duran vs Tan (GR L-2760, Feb. 11, 1950), penned by Chief Justice Manuel Moran, reiterated the rule that with respect to animals, the same is classified as a personal property for purposes of the law on property and for purposes of the law on theft under Act 3815, otherwise known as the “Revised Penal Code.”Given that the law classifies an animal as a personal property, the issue of ownership of its young is likewise pertinent. On this note, the case of United States vs Caballero (GR 8608, Sept. 26, 1913), penned by Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano is enlightening, viz:“Unless there is a prior agreement or contract, the cow’s offspring should belong to the owner of the female cow or the one that produces the offspring.”
Applying the cited provisions and jurisprudence in your case, the offspring of Coco, your female dog, should belong to you and not the owner of the male dog. Indeed, given that the fact of giving birth was unexpected, definitely there is no prior agreement that could perhaps serve as a basis for the male dog owner’s claim of right.To reiterate the rule for your guidance, if the young or offspring is a product of animals belonging to different owners, “the young belongs to the owner of the female parent” in the absence of an agreement to the contrary.We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our narration of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org"
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"Who owns the puppies?"
was written by Mary
under the Legal Advice
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comments. The article was created on 16 September 2021
and updated on 16 September 2021