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Does Deuteronomy 22:1-3 apply to stray dogs?

Question:

Hello! Deuteronomy 22:1-3 teaches that if you come across your brother’s lost ox, sheep, donkey, cloak, etc., you must return it, even if you do not know the one who owns it. Does this mean that if I see a stray animal such as a dog with a collar, that I’m required to approach it, check the tag, and locate the owner? What if I live with my parents, and they’ve told me to stay away from stray dogs due to them being potentially dangerous? Would the fact that I should obey my parents or that the house in which I’d keep the animal belongs to my parents, override/exempt me from needing to approach stray dogs, or would Deuteronomy 22:1-3 override such concerns to the extent that I must go against my parents?

 

Answer:

Hello,

You would not have to approach the stray dog, in order to return in. Tis is for a a number of reasons. Firstly, the dog is most probably owned by a non-Jew, and we are not commanded to return it. Secondly, if the dog can damage you, or cause you a monetary loss (if the person gets bitten) you are not obligated to take a loss, in order to return the dog.

Sources:

שולחן ערוך הרב חושן משפט הלכות מציאה ופקדון סעיף לג “אבל אינו חייב להוציא ממון על זה אלא אם כן ידוע לו בבירור שחבירו ישלם לו מעצמו. לפיכך אין חיוב השבת אבדה חל על מי שהוא בעל עסק בין במלאכה בין בחנות או בשאר משא ומתן בענין שעל ידי טרחו בהשבת אבדה יגיע לו איזה הפסד מניעת הריוח ושמא לא יחזירנו לו בעל האבדה:

 

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