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UK Man Prevented From Finding Chipped Pet Under Data Protection Act 340

Posted by samzenpus
from the clause-22 dept.
Dave Moorhouse was elated when he was informed that a microchip provider had information on the whereabouts of his stolen dog. This joy soon faded when the company informed him that it could not divulge the Jack Russell terrier's location because it would breach the Data Protection Act. Last week a court agreed with the chip company and refused Mr Moorhouse's request for a court order compelling them to reveal the name and address of the new owners. Steven Wildridge, managing director of the chip company said: “This is not a choice, it’s an obligation under the Data Protection Act. If the individuals involved do not want us to pass on their details to the original owner then we cannot do so unless compelled to following a criminal or civil proceeding."
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UK Man Prevented From Finding Chipped Pet Under Data Protection Act

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:51AM (#33674814)

    Why wasn't this treated as a criminal (or even civil property) matter? Aren't the new owners guilty of receiving stolen property? I mean, even if they didn't know it before (assuming they bought the dog from the thief and didn't realize it was stolen), they obviously do now. I've never seen a case where stolen property was found and the cops just let the holders keep it. Maybe fences should start chipping *all* their stolen goods before reselling them ("All these items chipped for your protection. Safe as buying from a reputable store!").

    And even if the dog wasn't stolen, it's still the original owner's property, no? Did the UK abolish property rights for pets or something?

    • by EndlessNameless (673105) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:57AM (#33674884)

      He has to file suit in order for it to be a civil or criminal matter.

      A judge will almost certainly issue an order for the information to be released once he advises the court that his pet has a locator device.

      Although the situation is a bit odd, I approve of a law which requires court action before any who isn't me can be provided my location.

      The new owners likely have no idea that the dog was stolen, and handling the situation through the courts is much less likely to explode than allowing the company to hand out home addresses to aggrieved parties.

      • by omnichad (1198475) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:03AM (#33674966) Homepage

        From the article
         

        Mr Moorhouse contacted the police who also refused to disclose the information after concluding that there was no criminal case to answer.

        A judge at Huddersfield County Court ruled that the matter was outside his jurisdiction.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:19AM (#33675196)

          Yes, he took action against the organisation with the data not the new owners. As the organisation are not at fault they have no liability, as they have no liability the case has no merit not his request for information. He took action against the wrong people, simple as. To get the information all he has to do is go down to small claims court, pay £25, file a notice with the court for discovery against the chip maker for the details of the new owners and the magistrate will probably grant it.

          Or he could attempt to get the police to do their jobs, they would be able to get a warrant for this data without issue, but he probably has greater chance of winning the lottery in every country on earth on the same day.

          • by erikvcl (43470) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:54AM (#33675650) Homepage

            I find it interesting that "police not doing their jobs" is a universal problem. That's something that has always bothered me. Unless it's a violent or significant crime, the police just aren't interested. I guess it's similar in the UK (I'm in the US).

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702)
              You missed selling recreational substances. God forbid if you're ever caught with more than one bag of ganj on you, as more than one bag obviously means that the other one is for selling, not that the dealer just sold it that way.
              • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @12:39PM (#33676972)

                And revenue producing activity. Heck, the police can spend all day sitting out with radar guns as the end of the month approaches.

                But, the broken window on my car covered with fingerprints they wouldn't take..

                • by Kymermosst (33885) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @01:53PM (#33677964) Journal

                  There's actually a really simple reason for this:

                  Minor infractions do not require someone from the DA's office to prosecute the case. So the charge will stick and you have to pay or go to court.

                  Chances are that the police know that the DA will not pursue charges against whoever broke your car window due to lack of budget, because the DA will be prioritizing against cases that involve personal violence, social ills (drugs), or high-level/high-visibility crime. It's not worth the time of the police to do anything more than take a report because they know that the DA will not take the case.

                  By the way, where do you live that police budgets are still dependent on fine revenue? Some US states have resolved the "quota" issue by having fine revenue go directly to the general fund of the state, not to the local police department which are usually funded by local budgets and non-fine revenue.

            • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @11:56AM (#33676374)

              You forgot one: Unless it's a violent or significant crime, orit generates revenue the police just aren't interested. In my experience, police spend 90% of their active time doing the later.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by geekoid (135745)

              It's not a universal problem, it a universal perception. People seem to think that if they have an issue the police should just do what ever they say based on their word.

              Yu do not want to live in a world like that.

              People also seem to think the police have infinite resources and don't need to prioritize.

              The vast majority of police in the US do try and take care of these issues and help. They are bound by rules and regulation and budget just like everyone else.

              It also doesn't help that their pay is so low.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by mwvdlee (775178)

                If the police have time to catch me speeding, they have time to figure out who threw a bearbottle through the rear window of my car.
                Yet I get a few speeding tickets each year but they never even bothered to look at my car in person.
                That is my perception, and my perception sees a problem with that.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Urkki (668283)

              I find it interesting that "people not doing their jobs" is a universal problem. That's something that has always bothered me. Unless it's somehow significant in the context of other things, people just aren't interested. I guess it's similar in extraterrestrial alien cultures, if there are any.

              FTFY ;-)

          • (1) Why is this in "idle" instead of "Your rights online"?

            (2) Nobody wants to place blame on the data company. They want to obtain a Search Warrant in order to gather the data, so they can track down the thieves.

            The end.

            I guess the judge is a strict constructionist, who only sees the letter of the law (forbids data disclosure). We need mre like him to stop police abuses - like breaking into homes without warrants, killing the family dog, all to obtain a half-ounce of grass.

          • by biryokumaru (822262) <biryokumaru@gmail.com> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @11:09AM (#33675818)
            How on earth would a regular person have any idea how to do all that crap? He shouldn't need to hire a lawyer to tell him how to get his stolen dog back.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jours (663228)

            In the US at least it wouldn't be a warrant or a police action. You would just file suit against the chip maker, the vet, and the guy who has your dog as John Doe. During discovery the records would be subpoenaed and John Doe would be named in the suit.

            It's the same way you go after an unknown person on the Internet. File suit, name the ISP and the anonymous offender, subpoena the offender's name.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Ah - so the police are the morons in this case.

          While the lawmakers have to create smart laws, the police have to actually help the courts uphold them.

          Or else you get the situation where the people wear their pants half off of their butts, and then you can easily tell who might mug you - from the fact that their pants are worn normally!

          Weird, when the normally behaving people look like criminals.

          But when the police won't bother enforcing the law, then you get oddities - like this guy who wants his pet b

          • by bws111 (1216812) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @11:51AM (#33676302)

            How are the police supposed to do their job if they do not know there has been a crime? According to other newspapers, this guy STILL has not reported the theft of the dog to the police. The fault lies entirely with the guy who decided the best course of action was to complain to the newspapers rather than filing a police report.

            "A West Yorkshire Police spokesman added: ‘If this gentleman wishes to report a theft to us, we will look into the matter. However, we are obviously unable to give members
            of the public people’s address details.’"

      • by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:12AM (#33675072)

        This person has filed suit already, the court rejected his request because (ftfa) the court ruled it was not within its jurisdiction to issue such an order. So he simply went to the "wrong" court and will have to go to a higher court or so. I do not see a reason why he can not get a court order to get the new owner's details. I'm sure he can get advice from either the judge who rejected his order or the police which court to go to next, to get the actual order. This whole story seems to be blown totally out of proportion; the man was obviously getting desperate or so and is not willing to go the proper way to get to this information.

        The chip company I fully support: they should not ever give out personal information without court orders. That's basic privacy protection.

        And who the dog now belongs to... well that's a whole different matter.

        • I agree in the support of the chip company. The Data Protection Act is one of the few acts we have in the UK that is amazing. And its so strictly enforced.

          I am sure that the man has not followed procedure properly, however, the The Article is scant on some details.

          • by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:43AM (#33675500) Homepage

            Ahh, so he has to fill out the Data Protection Act Stolen Dog Exemption Request form, stand in queue at the local magistrate's office.

            Then upon 7 fortnights, if the request is granted, he must then fill out the Data Protection Act Stolen Dog Information Request form, again in a queue this time at the Council offices.

            Should this form be approved, following a 600 pound sterling filing fee, then he can go on to contract a Solicitor. The Solicitor files a Data Protection Act Stolen Dog Action form with the local Constable....

            If the Constable finds wrong doing, the Constable then files a Data Protection Act Stolen Dog Investigation and the Solicitor can have a Barrister take all the above forms, signed in triplicate to stand in queue at the local magistrates office....

            • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

              42 - the number of forms a man must fill out to retrieve his stolen dog.

            • by elrous0 (869638) *
              And by the end of the process he will also have to fill out Form 90254: "Application for Canine Death Certificate," and pay a 100 pound filing fee at window 10 on the 2nd floor, Yorkshire magistrate's office.
            • I dunno about your country, but we've streamlined all that stuff in the US. Here, you whine about your legal problem on TV, some special-interest lawyer takes your case on contigency, the TV news and Slashdot ridicule the police, courts, and lawyers, and then you get your dog back.

        • by v1 (525388) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:29AM (#33675332) Homepage Journal

          The chip company I fully support: they should not ever give out personal information without court orders. That's basic privacy protection.

          The point many seem to be overlooking is that the original owner was sold a product specifically designed to identify their property. I very much doubt any information was given to the owner that "and oh by the way, when you find you NEED to locate your pet, we're going to use this law as an excuse not to provide you with the service you are purchasing from us today".

          So while the chipper technically is behaving legally, the original terms of sale etc are not being honored, and at this point, going after them on these grounds may be the best recourse. But then, winning a judgement against the chipper for breach of contract or unfit for purpose won't get them their pet back, but just might win a large enough judgement to force some change.

          The two sorts of change that may occur are to either add a term in their contract saying they won't help under this circumstance, or adding a term saying if you bring your animal to us to chip and we find out it's already chipped, you agree beforehand that we can turn your information over. Of course the latter makes more sense for the consumer.

          But the whole matter of the judge claiming no jurisdiction may just mean they have to take their case to a judge that does feel they have jurisdiction. But you've probably got the original owner in one state, the new owner in another state, and the chipper in a third state, so this may just prove to be a complete runaround with no one willing to claim jurisdiction.
           

          • by wvmarle (1070040) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:44AM (#33675514)

            You are mixing up identification with locating.

            Identification: "look I have a dog here, please tell me the serial number, and if available the name and other details of this dog". That the chipping company obviously has done. The current owner of the dog went to a vet, had the already present microchip read, and requested they be registered as owner of the dog.

            Locating: "my dog is lost; this was its serial number, please tell me where it is and who claims to be its current owner". That the company is not allowed to disclose without court order.

            If you want to sue the chipping company, you're surely on the losing side. The chip put in place is for identification as you say yourself. That's different from locating, in a way the exact opposite even. And the identification part obviously worked as advertised.

            And by the way you don't have to worry about that "states" thing. This story is not set in the US, but in the UK. And no that's not a part of the US.

            • by tsstahl (812393)

              And no that's not a part of the US.

              No way, dude! U. S. Americans is everywhere

              --Ms. South Carolina contestant

            • by Chris Burke (6130)

              If you want to sue the chipping company, you're surely on the losing side. The chip put in place is for identification as you say yourself.

              Nonsense. The chip was put in place for both identification and location, which is why the information about location exists to be denied on Data Protection Act terms. Just because the GP said "identification" in a /. post does not make that the one and only purpose of the chip.

              That said, suing the chipping company is still a losing proposition, since the company is co

          • The proper response should have been, and still is, to obtain the information from the company concerning where the pet was sold/make a case over that. Business information isn't the same as personal data, especially when it is backed by a request from the courts. Obtaining such a request against the company who re-sold his property illegally is a 20-minute deal in court.

            And then go after the pet store or whomever re-sold the pet to the new owners without checking for a microchip first.(or ignoring it) Ge

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Why doesn't he just sue the new "owner" as a John Doe just like the RIAA does... the Chip company knows who they are (just like the ISP knows the name and location of alleged illegal down-loaders), and it would leave it up to the courts to determine if the information needs to be released or if the dog can be returned to it's owner.

            I'd be willing to bet if the new owner gets served, they'd just hand the dog over willingly to avoid having to go to court.
          • by Chris Burke (6130)

            I very much doubt any information was given to the owner that "and oh by the way, when you find you NEED to locate your pet, we're going to use this law as an excuse not to provide you with the service you are purchasing from us today".

            So while the chipper technically is behaving legally, the original terms of sale etc are not being honored, and at this point, going after them on these grounds may be the best recourse.

            I very much doubt that the Terms and Conditions didn't include a clause that data availab

        • The dog belongs to the original owner, and if you don't think that's the case, please post your address. I'd like to become the new owner of your TV and computer system. Maybe your car too if I need something to transport my newly acquired goods.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Adustust (1650351) *
        I'm sure the case would probably end the same, but I think the chip only held client data. It wasn't a locator chip, and the only reason they called him 3 years later about his lost dog was because the new owners were trying to update the address on the chip. To me, it's a real dick move to try to change that info and then tell the company not to give out your info to the owner who's trying to find his dog.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          Maybe the new owners tried to get the previous owner's info and were faced with the same dilemma (disclosure of personal information of the previous owner) and they decided to just keep the dog?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by characterZer0 (138196)

      The proper course of action would be for the original owner to file charges and attempt to get a court order to get the address.

      The company is refusing, as it should, to provide private information without a court order.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        According to the article he did both those things, and the cops and court still let the people keep the dog. Just bizarre (and sad).
      • by Moryath (553296)

        As I understand it, the company should be on the hook to (a) call the people who registered and say "your dog is stolen, you need to call the real owner and return it immediately, and (b) prepare the contact information in preparation for any such court-ordered action.

        It sounds like, instead, they are aiding and abetting theft.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bsDaemon (87307)

        So, I pay for a chip for my dog to let me know where it is if it gets lost or stolen. My dog gets lost or stolen, and the company knows where it is, but won't tell me, and they're "doing the right thing?" That's some ol' bullshit, dude.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by bws111 (1216812)

          Except that is not the case. You don't pay for a chip to let you know where the dog is, you pay for a chip to help you identify the dog. That is the only service provided by the chipping company.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by debrain (29228)

        While the company cannot make disclosure of the new owners' address, there might not be anything stopping the company from forwarding a letter from the prior owner to the new owners, which letter asks the new owners to respond.

        The most effective and efficacious resolution of this dispute in favour of the prior owner is an agreement by the new owners to return the dog to the (apparently) rightful prior owner. This avoids legal costs of production and argument, the delay of a hearing, the uncertainty of Court

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by operagost (62405)
      An in-law of mine did TIME for receiving stolen property... and no, she didn't even know it was stolen. Obviously, we don't really want to prosecute the new owners, but the fact is that a crime was committed, and the police are ignoring a lead to the criminals. How does this mouthbreathing judge expect the man to file a civil case when he can't get the company to divulge the whereabouts of the dog?
      • How does this mouthbreathing judge expect the man to file a civil case when he can't get the company to divulge the whereabouts of the dog?

        A "John Doe" lawsuit perhaps?

    • by Algorithmnast (1105517) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:05AM (#33674990)

      Once more, the law trumps _apparent_ common sense. Unfortunately, the common sense approach here forgets one simple thing: any claim of foul play (or if this were a duck, Fowl Play) for property rights has to go through a court system.

      I really sympathize with the guy, but if I wanted my pet back, I'd report it as stolen and get the legal ball rolling.

      These sorts of laws are meant to stop well-intentioned entities (such as the data companies) from releasing the right information to the wrong people. Want to prove you're the right person? Then prove it as part of the legal process. I'd rather be annoyed than have someone trick the car recovery company into delivering it to them... (yeah a weak analogy - shrug)

      Of course, the lawyers (like bookies) still get rich from both parties.

      • by bsDaemon (87307)

        In the immortal words of Gin Rummy, I'll be dead on his ass like "Spencer for fuckin' Hire". I'll hunt him down and feed him his testicles, *and* I'll do it in a jiffy. And I don't care if his momma there, his grandmomma, innocent bystanders, little kids, baby sitters, bill collectors, whatever. I'll leave his whole block filled with hot brass if I have to, and you know why? 'Cause *I JUST DON'T GIVE A FUCK!* You guys sure you don't want any breakfast? I have English muffins and peach jelly.

      • by AbbeyRoad (198852)

        You are not reading the article.

        How can a judge issue a court order outside of his jurisdiction?

        -paul

    • by yivi (236776) <yivi@@@mutated...me> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:07AM (#33675002) Homepage

      It would be so wonderful if there was a way to find out what really happened... [telegraph.co.uk]

      Alas, we have to live in ignorance.
       

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by elrous0 (869638) *
        I had read the original article (though I know it might endanger my /. reputation to admit it). It didn't really explain the situation any better than the summary--though it did clarify that he did petition both the police and court, both of which refused to return the property or even help him get the address of the new "owners."
        • except that it sounds like he is complainging about the chip maker, not the new "owner". If he did the latter, it sounds like the police would help.

    • by cgenman (325138)

      My understanding under US law, is that theft does not change ownership. And similarly, buying stolen property similarly does not change ownership as the seller did not have ownership to sell. If you buy a stolen laptop, even if you didn't know it was stolen, the true owner can walk over and take it back as you never actually had ownership of the property, and you were defrauded by the seller who didn't have the rights to sell.

      UK law may be different, but under US law it's still his dog.

    • by stiggle (649614)

      He never reported the dog being missing to the police - only to the local vets.

      If he had reported it to the police 3 years ago when the dog went missing then he'd have the crime number and be able to prove it really was a lost/missing/stolen dog rather than the sale of a pet a few years later. Then when the dog shows up again, he can reference that crime number and have the police follow it up. "I was robbed 3 years ago" doesn't sound that good a defence to claim ownership if you didn't report the robbery

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:55AM (#33674854)

    Aren't they shooting themselves in the foot? Why get your pet chipped if it doesn't help you get your pet back?

    • But then the RFID makers don't get paid good money for providing a service that cannot be enforced because of laws that prevent them from having any use!
  • Frustrating (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @09:55AM (#33674858) Homepage

    I work in a pharmaceutical call center (I'm no longer on phones, since I now work in a technical position...but I started with answering phones.) People would get EXTREMELY frustrated with certain HIPAA regulations that would prevent us from providing them information regarding a family member because they hadn't been set as an "official contact".

    HIPAA laws are well-intentioned, but often get in the way of patients (or their family members) getting the information they need. This malarky regarding the Data Protection Act and the guy's own dog seems to be a similar unfortunate situation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Except when somebody doesn't want their family members learning about their medical history; then the HIPAA stuff can be quite helpful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Improv (2467)

      Sometimes that well-intentioned-ness is really good. For example, I have not spoken with my father for over five years and would not want him to be treated any differently than some random person off the street in getting information or visiting should I ever become seriously ill. The doctors should not need to hear me explain that, and I would be livid if they used their "good judgement" to override the rules.

      I don't care if my father (or anyone else) isn't getting information they think they "need". They

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        True! That's why I didn't say they always got in the way:-) Chances are, it's a case of "the complainers are the loudest", but I've seen first-hand plenty of instances where I can't release information to someone due to regulations, even though they really need to know what's going on.

        Please also note that the specific example I referred to in my OP wasn't an estranged family member, but a family member who was asked by the patient to get information yet wasn't listed as an "official" contact. A few days

        • Please also note that the specific example I referred to in my OP wasn't an estranged family member, but a family member who was asked by the patient to get information yet wasn't listed as an "official" contact. A few days later, they called with the patient also on the line, and the patient confirmed they were authorized...but they were still pissed that they lost a few days on it.

          I saw similar situations in my time answering phones. It sucks, the human in me wanted to be able to bend the rules to help, but there was always a rational part of me that understood that the laws exist for a reason and I have no way of knowing if the "desperate family member" was giving me the whole story. That is one of the many reasons I am glad not to be in a direct people facing role anymore; it saves me stressing the moral ambiguity.

          At the very least those experiences have made me think very hard a

    • by iamhassi (659463)
      "HIPAA laws are well-intentioned, but often get in the way of patients (or their family members) getting the information they need. This malarky regarding the Data Protection Act and the guy's own dog seems to be a similar unfortunate situation."

      THIS IS NOT HIPAA!

      Sorry but HIPAA [wikipedia.org] is a Very Good Thing and completely different from this. I don't work in a call center but I know far too much about HIPAA and it's basically the only thing that protects someone from giving out all your medical history.

      Be
      • by butlerm (3112)

        I hesitate to say that is one of the most poorly thought out arguments I have seen on Slashdot for quite some time. The all caps / all bold shouting doesn't exactly advance your case either.

  • dog gone it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by digitalsushi (137809) <slashdot@digitalsushi.com> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:02AM (#33674952) Journal

    That's one dog gone sad story.

  • The new owners probably don't know it's been stolen, and for all anyone knows, maybe he just gave them the dog and is now using this to track them? Not that crazy if you consider it might be his ex-wife or similar.

    Instead, he just has to file a lawsuit and get the courts to agree to it. Or get the police to recover the dog.

    • You didn't read the article. He already tried both of those.

      • by JohnFluxx (413620)

        Kinda. The report is a bit light on details, but it sounds like he tried to get the police and court to force Animalcare to reveal the details. But Animalcare had not done anything wrong, hence their refusal.

        It doesn't sound like he tried to get the police or courts to just get his dog back instead.

  • by AbbeyRoad (198852) <p@2038bug.com> on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:05AM (#33674984) Homepage

    The company is perfectly right. The judge only refused because the guy asked the wrong judge. This is explained in the article.

    The company also is being entirely cooperative and "would encourage Mr Moorhouse to go to a solicitor and start a civil case".

    Through a civil case he would be able to get a court order. I don't even think he would need a lawyer for this.

    This law is in line with good civil rights: it's the same law that prevents Google from disclosing info about your searches.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:06AM (#33674996) Homepage

    ... then get the info. Since those in possession of the dog are now aware the dog belongs to someone else, not handing the dog over to authorities means they are now keeping someone else's property. Hence, it is now theft.

    • They're only aware of a prior owner having registered the dog, and not necessarily of the fact that he was stolen. It's entirely possible and not improbable that they bought the dog from the thief, eventually decided they wanted him chipped, and view the whole matter as simply a need to update some records to reflect what they consider a legal change of ownership.

      Nothing says or implies the new owners actually know he was stolen, and the company has probably declined to tell the new owners anything more t
  • How exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Crudely_Indecent (739699) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:08AM (#33675014) Journal

    did the dog get chipped in the first place?

    I had my dog chipped, by a vet, after filling out paperwork authorizing it (and a check paying for it). If the paperwork is in the original owners name, how do the new owners have authority? How does the chip company even know about the new owners?

    It makes me wonder if I got ripped off for the chip I paid for.

    From the TFA, the original owner was asked by the chip company if they could update their records with the new owner information and the original owner refused. The police say their isn't a case and won't do anything further.

  • Steven Wildridge, managing director of Animalcare, the company that runs Anibase, said, "This is a common problem that can occur if a dog is involved in a marital dispute or it is lost or stolen."

    Are those not the precise circumstances you'd hope to remedy by procuring the chip to begin with? I understand it may not be legal for them to randomly hand over information provided to them, but there should be no issue with them handing the information over to authorities and allowing them to determine the
    • From animalcare's website [animalcare.co.uk]:
      "Locate offers assistance to the owner when a pet goes missing as well as other database benefits"

      Apparently, they don't offer that much assistance.
  • At least here in the USA if you have proof that the dog was lost/stolen (as in newpaper articles, or an original police report), you get your dog back if you have proof it is your dog (like a microchip implant). There are no questions asked, you get the dog (or you can do whatever you want, like officially give the dog to the current owners or sell him to them).
  • Some jurisdictions in the US have essentially legalized auto theft - provided you happen to be an impound company. Years ago a company impounded my car from my contracted parking space and the police refused to get involved. Basically, if you're dealing with a for-profit (or "not-for-profit" - whatever the hell that actually means) company, your chance of getting the government or law enforcement to help you is almost zero.
    • so just take your car back from the impound don't pay or pay and change back.

      • so just take your car back from the impound don't pay

        That isn't an option since the private impound companies hold your car as hostage inside a locked facility; you can't get it until you pay them for it. Often they won't even allow you to see your car until you pay them - and of course usually they make you sign a form where you release them of any and all liability for damage done in order to get your car back from them.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      They do exactly the same thing in the UK - we have a legal framework which companies towing vehicles are supposed to follow, but it's frequently abused and generally misunderstood by the police.

      Put it this way, it's quite common to find your vehicle's been taken illegally, and the police response is almost invariably "that's a civil matter, Sir". 9 times out of 10, you either need to get an injunction against the company that towed away your car to return it or you pay to retrieve it and then sue them for

      • They seldom honour court judgements

        I've seen that before. The towing companies do flat-out ignore court judgments, or just keep appealing them until the plaintiff runs out of money to continue with proceedings (or if they are really lucky until they find a judge who buys their pile of lies).

        so you usually have to include the person who instructed them as well

        I figured life would be more civilized across the pond (it generally is). Here we allow the towing companies to patrol lots on their own; they basically don't need anyone to instruct them to do anything in some cases. Then since there is no witness t

  • File a stolen property case against John Doe and request the release of the data.
    The case can be made for the dogs value to be over $200. If it is a rare breed then $500 for sure.

    Make it criminal and not civil and watch the people with the dog return it as quick as possible. I doubt anyone wants criminal charges over a dog.

    • by jimicus (737525)

      This is the UK, not the US.

      While it's possible to mount a criminal prosecution privately, it's very expensive and quite difficult. The police have already washed their hands of the matter, claiming it's a civil dispute. (Myself I don't see how - the dog was reported stolen some time ago, he's since found evidence to suggest it's still alive and in the possession of someone else, but AFAICT "It's a civil dispute" is often used as code to mean "We the police don't want to get involved").

  • Easy Fix (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bigrockpeltr (1752472)
    Dont ask for the location of the new owner's address... just ask for the location of HIS dog. ( GPS coordinates could work too.) Either way common sense clearly rules this should be a non issue. He should probably sue the data company for accessory to theft or something like that.


    This is like if i install a security/tracking app (like SmartGuart) on MY phone, it gets stolen/lost, then the app company wont tell me where the phone is.
    • The chips don't provide location.

      The chip can only be detected and read by a wand that passes in close proximity of the chip.

      Most likely the dog ended up with new owners, who took the dog to a vet who scanned for the chip, and reported the finding to the chip company.

      Be best the chip company could tell you is the last place the chip was scanned.

  • I guess things are handled differently in the UK. In the US it's illegal to buy stolen property, and if you do you are subject to having it confiscated from you (at the least). The police should have demanded the information (geting a court order if necessary) and then retrived the stolen property as 'evidence'. The original owner (after submitting proof that the stolen property is really his) should then have been able to get his dog back. In this case he would not only have needed to have had his dog

  • by Assmasher (456699) on Thursday September 23, 2010 @10:55AM (#33675664) Journal

    ...always get a Power of Attorney from your dog.

  • I read this tentatively thinking the animal itself had gone through a wood chipper.
  • by MaerD (954222)
    Why not pursue the mircochip company for fraud? They obviously sold him a set of services they did not have the ability to legally provide..
  • by xigxag (167441)

    Where I live in the US

    1) The police would typically not investigate an alleged crime like this - there are simply too many cases of petit larceny for them to go after every one with detectives.
    2) Filing a police report does not constitute proof of a crime -- anybody can file a lost property report and claim that my property is theirs. Maybe they sold me an animal and then feel remorse and want it back. Maybe my ex-wife wants back the mangy cur dog she surrendered in the divorce decree, or she just wants

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