Breaking down Arizona's '6-day rule' when it comes to pets

PHOENIX - A stray pup found in Phoenix by a Good Samaritan is stirring up a lot of controversy in the community. 

Rhino, an English bulldog, was found in Phoenix in December. Since then, Phoenix Police launched an investigation into who Rhino really belongs to. Turns out, Rhino matches the same description of a lost dog named Mikey. 

Phoenix Police concluded that the two dogs aren't the same and Rhino's owner is refusing to give the dog back. 

On Wednesday, ABC15 viewers were fired up over the reference to the state's six-day law. Phoenix police say if they needed to, they would refer back to that law to determine the dog's rightful owner.

"So the statute, for liability purposes, if you keep a dog for six days, for liability purposes, you are the owner," said Robert Mann, an attorney with Radix Law in Scottsdale.

Mann says the court would look at several factors when determining a dog's rightful owner including what they did to prevent the dog from running off and what they did to find the dog.

Mann says it is possible a judge could refer to this statute.

"I could see them taking a look at this plain language that says on its face, the owner is someone who keeps a dog for six days," Mann said.

Maricopa County Animal Care and Control also follows the six-day rule when it comes to owner's surrendering a dog. Even if you pick a dog up as a stray, after six days, they consider it yours.

"You are going to be responsible for licensing that dog, taking care of that dog and if you decide you want to drop that dog off at the shelter, there's going to be fees associated because you will be considered an owner of that dog," said Jose Santiago, a spokesperson for the county's animal shelter.

The county says the best line of defense, register and microchip your dog. That way there is no question and no legal battle to keep your dog.

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