Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

UK Man Prevented From Finding Chipped Pet Under Data Protection Act

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the clause-22 dept.

Government 340

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."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

So they can just keep stolen property then? (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#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?

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (5, Insightful)

EndlessNameless (673105) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (5, Informative)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#33674966)

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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (4, Interesting)

erikvcl (43470) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675650)

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).

actually even violent and significiant... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675992)

crimes are often ignored. basically the police are not here for 'our' benefit. yeah if i was walking down the road with a joint they might commit hundreds of dollars of resources instantly to holding and processing the 'crime' and bring me in and out of court multiple times eventually ruining any chance of teaching mathematics even though im in debt to the state for $100k to get a phd in physics/math with an impeccable academic record. it took a couple of real experiences to realise this simple truth, the police are not here for 'our' benefit. perhaps if i was a celebrity or business owner, ceo or other vip. but no.

another example is harrasment or abuse from other people. if the police could take proactive action in these cases alot of crime which is people taking things into their own hands to enact revenge or settle abuse could be averted early on and there would be an even more important impact on the lives and earning potential of the victims. for another example take false allegations/corruption by police, legal aid(s) doesnt want to know and doesnt care. it is standard practice for the police to make a bunch of shit up and not play by the rules just to rub it in your face how corrupt they are and try and force you to bet against yourself, conceeding one thing in the mistaken belief that the court will see the truth and even listen to you let alone be lucky enough to have a magistrate that can A) read, B) have any memory C) read the previous assertions of previous magistrates who have made 'deals' in previous times the case has been set down. for example a deal to have no charge recorded if certain actions were undertaken and then later forget about all that completely. i realise that lawyers intentionally obfuscate everything to the max to make it difficult for magistrates and judges to read all the verbage presented to them, but this is why the laws should be formalised and there should be very clear semantic statements of everything that can be asserted and assessed upon, to the degree that we do not need a magistrate or simply that the magistrate should check the formal calculations of a computer program that based on formal logic determines the outcome in any given situation and can include assertions from all parties, so that if a given police prosecutor has a streak of being accused of fabricating entire statements and general corruption, they can be excluded from duties and imho should simply be fired. if a police member cannot communicate with the public they should not be police, or guards or jail guards or hold any position of 'authority' ('''s because i think authority should be reserved for those that create or an author, and these so called 'authorities' have not created anything, and dont count on them reading the mass of verbage when youve been waiting months with your whole life on hold for a few minutes of their time and they dont bother reading the statement in front of them or those made by the previous magistrates who agreed to the previous adjournment. /rant
  and good luck getting the thousands needed for a half hour appearance from a good solicitor or barrister, if you were in that social class where you had that money free to spend on legal expenses then you might not be suffering or vulnerable to the kinds of things that police should be helping us with. imho it all went down hill when the general population turned against many authorities and the police with the complete failure that is the 'war on some drugs'.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675714)

(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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (4, Insightful)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#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:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Insightful)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675238)

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 back but may become a "criminal" if he continues to press for what used to be his rights.

As for the judge... unlike in America, it looks like UK judges correctly understand that they are only to rule on court cases, and not on their perception of injustice. [In the U.S., courts have ordered things done when they had no legal standing to address the issue.]

So the court is unable to address the issue until the police do their job.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675502)

You do realize that those things you whine about US courts doing have a long precedent within common law history, no? The people whining about "activist judges" know shit about their country's judicial heritage.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (3, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1)

SenseiLeNoir (699164) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675164)

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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (5, Funny)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675500)

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:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Funny)

randizzle3000 (1276900) | more than 4 years ago | (#33676020)

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

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675332)

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.
 

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675840)

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

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

--Ms. South Carolina contestant

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675864)

It seems to me the correct coarse of action is to file a case against John/Jane doe for theft/posession of stolen property (the dog). The subpena the identity of the regisered owners from the chip manufaturer.

In the US that would trivially get you the identity of the people who posess the dog, and in coaurt you could recieve the cash value of the dog as reward for the case (I don't believ you can get the actuall do back as the rulling of a civil case). Alternatively once you have the identity of the defendant and they are notified of the case against them you can likely offer to settle out of court for the retun of the dog and then drop the case.

Of coarse I'm not a lawyer just a guy with a bit of common sence who had a couple family members studying to become lawyers/paralegals at one time so my infomation may be incorrect. Also it's US centric so not nesesarily relevent to the UK.

He's Going After the Wrong People Here (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675798)

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) Get *them* to contact the owners and notify them of the mistake or sue them to get a replacement dog.

The Pet ID company can't do anything and yes, he went after the wrong people here.

Moral of this story - always follow the money and always attack where it changes hands.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Interesting)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675914)

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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675544)

What personal information are they giving out? The location of a piece of property (the dog)? or something else.

He doesn't need a name, or even an address. Just a location.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (4, Informative)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675756)

They don't know the location of the dog (the chip is not a GPS device). The only information they have is the contact information for the PERSON who registered the dog, which may not be any indication of the physical location of the dog.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Informative)

Adustust (1650351) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675346)

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:So they can just keep stolen property then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675428)

Wouldn't the police have to decide it was a criminal matter? If its stolen, then if he filed a police report, wouldn't that be good enough? How does he know it was stolen and not just that the dog ran off?

Either way, you think he could sue for his dog back. I doubt he'd upset a judge if he explained the situation and said he just wanted his property returned.

Of course I'm a dumb American that grew up in a state whose laws explicitly state the for civil and misdemeanor criminal matters, common sense trumps the law. It let's the legislature and lawyers concentrate on their real jobs and not worry as much about unintended consequences while providing some protection to citizens who can't know all the intricacies of the law.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675610)

Of course I'm a dumb American that grew up in a state whose laws explicitly state the for civil and misdemeanor criminal matters, common sense trumps the law. It let's the legislature and lawyers concentrate on their real jobs and not worry as much about unintended consequences while providing some protection to citizens who can't know all the intricacies of the law.

Sorry, but that's not the America I know and live in. Maybe you're in Central America? In the United States, "Common Sense" is so far removed from the law it might as well exist on the moon.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675524)

He didn't ask for a persons location.

He asked for his properties location (the dogs).

The chip company shouldn;t be exposing the whereabouts of any person. As the chip was installed in a dog.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675984)

The company don't know the location of the dog. The chip isn't a GPS tracking device. It's a type of RFID device. All they know is the details of some PERSON who tried to update the computer record associated with that RFID number. And the company have no choice here. They are not permitted to divulge that information under the Data Protection Act.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675546)

So do I need a court order BEFORE I tell people I saw your post on /.?

Or is it just before I tell people I saw you on the street?

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Insightful)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#33674886)

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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33674998)

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).

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (5, Informative)

b0bby (201198) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675446)

The Daily Telegraph is interested in sensational stories, not making things clear. The Daily Mail (not much better) has this quote:

"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.’"
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1314154/Microchip-firm-wont-tell-dog-owner-stolen-pet.html [dailymail.co.uk]

So it appears that he hasn't reported the dog as stolen, which means that the cops & the company are right not to give him the information. But that's not much of a story, is it?

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675000)

You are plain wrong.

The company was, presumably, contracted with the original owner to track his dog. Having discovered the dog's location, they are not disclosing it because the dog is located with some other people. However, as far as the company is concerned, the dog is still stolen. Which means their primary obligation is to the original owner. And if they can't give that information to him, they can certainly give it to the police.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Interesting)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675086)

Ever had a pet chipped? I'm guessing not.

Instead of "presuming", why don't you take a look at what it is these companies actually contract to do. Because if you do, you'll find that you are... how did you put it? ... plain wrong.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675098)

And if they can't give that information to him, they can certainly give it to the police.

But Mr. Moorehouse lives in England. The police have better things to do than waste their time dealing with stolen property, like using surveillance cameras to track down people who try to take pictures of police officers.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1)

Moryath (553296) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675126)

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:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Insightful)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675358)

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:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Informative)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675944)

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:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Insightful)

debrain (29228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675460)

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 Courts, and the quagmire of an appeal. As well, in certain jurisdictions, such a letter puts the onus on the new owners to respond - and if they do not they may be responsible for some of the costs of any legal action required to get their address.

I would argue, then, that the "proper course", so to speak, is to write the new owners care of ("c/o") the company who knows their address. If the new owners do not respond, then you can engage the legal system to compel the company to forward the letter.

All that failing, once a legal action commences there is generally an obligation on the company to make disclosure of information relevant to the resolution of the case. In this instance, the address of the to-be respondents (the current owners) would be relevant, as (1) they are entitled to notice that legal action has commenced so they may respond, and (2) their information is necessary to enforce any order that would require the return of the dog (and, arguably, to prevent the to-be respondents from fleeing their current address with the dog so as to escape enforcement).

Food for thought.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33674898)

I would assume that, under a similar law in the U.S., the original owner could contact the police and initiate a criminal investigation. With a warrant, the police could then force the chip company to turn over the information on the stolen property (or face obstruction of justice charges, etc. - not to mention a lot of bad press). The only roadblock would be whether the police would investigate such a crime, and whether the statute of limitations had run out.

Of course, IANAL.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Informative)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#33674972)

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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33674920)

Did the UK abolish property rights for pets or something?

      All rational UK laws have been abolished in favor of sucking muslim cock

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (3, Informative)

operagost (62405) | more than 4 years ago | (#33674958)

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?

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1)

Ambiguous Puzuma (1134017) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675066)

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?

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (5, Insightful)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675432)

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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (4, Insightful)

yivi (236776) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675002)

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:So they can just keep stolen property then? (2, Informative)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675408)

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."

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675010)

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.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675340)

Under Scots law, and possibly also in England and Wales, a sale does change ownership if it's made in good faith by both parties. So if you buy a stolen laptop AND you didn't know it was stolen AND the seller didn't know it was stolen, then it's yours. If the seller is the thief, then obviously this doesn't apply, but it might if the seller is a fence who can convincingly claim he bought the item in good faith.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (1)

eyrieowl (881195) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675690)

The key point there seems to be who gets to define what "good faith" is. I'd imagine that the courts would say that, for example, you can't buy a stolen Rembrandt in good faith because you should be reasonably expected to inquire the provenance? It just seems like there must be some situations where the courts would not hold that the most recent purchaser of an item is, in fact, the lawful owner. Also, assuming that they *do* allow the current ownership to stand, where does that leave the original owner? Are they completely SOL? Is their only hope for redress to pursue damages against the thief? If there were other 'bad faith' owners prior to the 'good faith' sellers/owners, would they also be liable for damages?

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (-1, Flamebait)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675272)

To be fair, a lot of us on Slashdot are Americans and have American-style expectations of rights. Britain is not a free country, so we shouldn't try to make presumptions on British law based on American law. Apparently, in addition to not having the right to free speech (saying true things even when it damages the reputation of a corporation), and not having the right to self defense (peacefully carrying a weapon, or using a weapon when another person tries to harm you), British subjects also do not have property rights (the right to recapture goods stolen from you) or civil redress of grievances (the right to sue a person who is holding your stolen property for return of that property).

Hey, that's not a legal system that I would want to live under, but even if Britain is not a free country, it *IS* a functioning democracy (sort of), so it is the British subjects who choose this legal system for themselves, and I don't think we Americans should go too far in criticizing it.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675598)

Myopic,adj, lack of imagination, foresight, or intellectual insight

Indeed.

Re:So they can just keep stolen property then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675694)

Seriously? I know, feeding the troll, but still. Britian is much more free that the US. Americans are so deluded and manipulated to believe that we still have freedom. We don't.

So having your pet chipped is pointless then? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33674854)

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

Re:So having your pet chipped is pointless then? (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33674926)

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!

Re:So having your pet chipped is pointless then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33674946)

It can still be helpful for the case where your pet is found by someone who is willing to return it to you.

Re:So having your pet chipped is pointless then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675354)

No! That's the wrong way to look at it, my friend. By giving the pet chip company your hard earned money you create jobs and in the process supply our economy with the means to keep from crashing us all into the depths of a greed-fueled depression so horrifying in its black vasty-depth that civilization would never exit again. So go out and chip your pet, you'll be glad you did, even if little Rex gets stolen and you have no way to recover him.

And remember:
TURN IN ALL DATA-SHARERS!

Frustrating (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33674858)

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:Frustrating (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33674932)

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

Re:Frustrating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675288)

Gerbil got stuck, eh?

Re:Frustrating (4, Funny)

dsoltesz (563978) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675570)

Gossipy, nosy, lecturing family members... I don't even want them knowing my latest blood pressure reading. All I need is my mother saying "Should you be putting butter on your potato? Your cholesterol levels are a bit high." And. Yeah. I don't want her to know about the damned gerbil.

Re:Frustrating (2, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675172)

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 can go stuff it.

Re:Frustrating (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675392)

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 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.

Re:Frustrating (1)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675516)

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 about who I would want to be able to access my medical information and make decisions about my care if I was unable to do so.

Re:Frustrating (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675188)

"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.

Before HIPAA came out in 1996 (yes, that recently) anyone could call your doctor or hospital and ask for your information and if the wrong person answered the phone they might give that information out. What medications your on, what surgeries you've had, what diseases you have or had. Even Captain Obvious can clearly see no one would want this information given to anyone that bothers to make a phone call so Thank God congress finally did one thing right and enacted HIPAA.

Who has your dog is another matter, however the Data Protection Act only applies to UK. [wikipedia.org] This is a UK law, we're still safe in the US.

Re:Frustrating (1)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675274)

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.

Britain....you're hosed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33674902)

That's spectacularly foolish.

dog gone it (4, Insightful)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 4 years ago | (#33674952)

That's one dog gone sad story.

Re:dog gone it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675146)

wow straight to -1 dude, an editor didnt catch that joke huh

I don't see the problem (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 4 years ago | (#33674974)

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.

Re:I don't see the problem (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675396)

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

Re:I don't see the problem (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675620)

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.

Company may be perfectly right (3, Informative)

AbbeyRoad (198852) | more than 4 years ago | (#33674984)

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.

Re:Company may be perfectly right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675050)

Yeah, I agree, also the company is generally not in a position to verify that the person requesting the information is who he says he is, and that the situation is how he claims that it is, etc. E.g. it could be a low-life ex-boyfriend just looking for the person who owns the dog, or any number of bizarre circumstances. Certainly not claiming any shananigans in this particular case, but sound policy has to account for all scenarios.

File criminal charges that the dog is stolen (2, Interesting)

Skapare (16644) | more than 4 years ago | (#33674996)

... 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.

Re:File criminal charges that the dog is stolen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675136)

If you Read the comments above or TFA, it would say that he did try. Police refused to disclose info after concluding it was not a criminal case. The judge refused saying it was out of his jurisdiction.

Re:File criminal charges that the dog is stolen (1)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675726)

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 than they've told Mr. Moorhouse, if the new owners even got enough information to become suspicious of any problems.

How exactly (2, Insightful)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675014)

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.

Someone please explain this... (1)

Last_Available_Usern (756093) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675092)

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 dog's ownership. If the current "owner" can't prove a consentual transaction took place than the dog goes back to the original owner. Someone has to have jurisdiction to remedy these type of cases.

Re:Someone please explain this... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675652)

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.

american law (0, Redundant)

Odinlake (1057938) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675110)

What does this mean exactly? He must start a legal process in order to get the name of the people who now have the dog. Suppose he just got their names anyway, what is he supposed to do? Grab his shotgun, walz over there and demand the dog back? I don't know anything about American law but surely there'd have to be a legal process involved either way, so what's the big deal about having to start it before finding out the names?

Re:american law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675300)

I don't know anything about American law but surely there'd have to be a legal process involved either way, so what's the big deal about having to start it before finding out the names?

Doesn't matter since this took place in the UK.

Glad I don't live in England... (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675176)

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).

Re:Glad I don't live in England... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675646)

In the US, a SWAT team would descend upon the thieve's home, shooting the stolen dog in the process.

They're still catching up in the UK (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675218)

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 (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675242)

so just take your car back from the impound don't pay or pay and change back.

Re:so just take your car back from the impound don (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675966)

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.

Re:They're still catching up in the UK (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675302)

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 the money. (They seldom honour court judgements and never have any assets for a bailiff to take, so you usually have to include the person who instructed them as well).

Most people know nothing about the legal framework bit and probably pay up with little fuss, so in essence it is exactly the same thing.

File a stolen property report. (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675244)

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.

Re:File a stolen property report. (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675542)

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").

Don't need the address (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675296)

Can you give me the latitude and longitude of my dog please ?
Thanks.

Easy Fix (2, Interesting)

bigrockpeltr (1752472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675336)

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.

Re:Easy Fix (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675946)

This sounds like something from the Idiocracy movie. So...I put Lojack in my car. Car is stolen and sold to someone on the street within minutes. Cops find stolen car in possession of new "owner". Lojack can't tell you where your car is now because of Data Protection Act?? Um, no. Not in the US. Like a previous poster already pointed out - BUYING STOLEN PROPERTY IS IN AND OF ITSELF A CRIME WHETHER OR NOT IT IS DONE KNOWINGLY.

A New Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33675440)

With this kind of logic being bandied about by the courts it seems like I should just chip everything I steal before selling it.

queer brit courts (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675498)

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 'chipped' (which might have been proof enough that it was his dog if he had written proof of the chip's ID) but maybe also had a copy of his dog's DNA.

Moral of the story... (3, Funny)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675664)

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

Pikeys (1)

toxonix (1793960) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675730)

That is why you never ever buy a dog from a pikey.

Every day... (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675816)

Every day, there seems to be at least one article on /. that makes me shake my head and go "What the hell?"

Title Threw Me for a Loop (2, Funny)

adeft (1805910) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675876)

I read this tentatively thinking the animal itself had gone through a wood chipper.

fraud.. (1)

MaerD (954222) | more than 4 years ago | (#33675982)

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..
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?