A: You should ask for your dog back and find someone else if you still do not have a place. If this person refuses, you should not wait to take legal action. Dogs and other companion animals are still considered property in Massachusetts, so the person will have to return your dog to you unless the court finds that you have abandonned or abused the dog. Whether a court would order this person to return your dog depends upon your agreement. The more you can show that your agreement was for this person to care for your dog ONLY while you found a place, that the pandemic prolonged your ability to take the dog back, that you had regular contact with this person and your dog, and any monies or care that you provided during this time, the more likely you are to have the court order the dog be returned to you.
A: Animal control should release the dog to you once you provide proof of ownership - dog license, photos, whatever you have - provided the officer believes that someone else, not you, left you dog tied for hours and that you did not neglect or abuse your dog. You should be aware that animal control officers in Massachusetts are typically police officers. They not only have the right to keep your dog if they find neglect or abuse, but also to bring criminal charges against the person who tied your dog and left him/her for hours under the animal cruelty laws - for example - dog was left in cold weather, tied for a long time without water, etc. If animal control is not returning your dog, then you should act quickly to protect your dog and yourself. As with any criminal investigation, you are best advised to have legal counsel before speaking with the police.