NM ACO Adopts Microchipped Lost Dog to New Owner

On December 31, 2013, a dog named Hogan escaped from his yard in Valencia Co, NM.  Owner Tracy Brooks had already microchipped Hogan and began posting lost dog ads online and putting up flyers around the county.  She also filed a lost dog report with her local shelter – Valencia Co AC.  One week later, Bosque Farms AC – a nearby village with one ACO on duty – picked up Hogan.  Bosque Farms says they scanned Hogan for a chip and checked the Valencia Co lost dog reports, coming up negative on both.  Bosque Farms AC normally works closely with Valencia Co AC and turns over unclaimed pets to the county after 72 hours.  But in this case, Bosque Farms adopted Hogan to a new owner, Susan Miertl:

She said Bosque Farms Animal Control told her the dog’s previous owners badly abused him based on the dog’s behavior.

Everybody’s an expert.

When Hogan, renamed Thor by Ms. Miertl, was taken to a vet, the vet scanned him and found his chip.  Although it’s not clear in the article exactly who contacted the Brooks family, the owners registered on the chip, they were apparently told where Hogan was living in Bernalillo County.  A member of the Brooks family went to Susan Miertl’s home and saw Hogan in the yard.  Ms. Miertl was not at home and Bernalillo County AC was contacted:

Bernalillo County said the dog jumped the fence and when Animal Control checked the microchip, it was registered to the Brooks family, so that is who they returned it to.

Handy, that fence jumping.

The original owners say they were threatened with animal abuse charges by the Bosque Farms ACO who also reportedly told the new owner not to return the dog to the alleged abusers.

Officials in Bosque Farms told KRQE they are not aware of any animal abuse claims or pending charges.

So at the end of all this drama, Hogan is back home with his original owners who fear retaliation for getting their dog back.  Ms. Miertl believes the dog she adopted has been returned to animal abusers and has filed a stolen dog report.

All this could have been avoided if the impounding ACO did his job by finding the chip and contacting the owners.  Failing that, he could have matched the dog up via the county’s lost dog report and contacted the owners.  And failing both those things, he could have followed the local ordinance requiring him to turn Hogan over to Valencia Co when he went unclaimed.  But apparently the Bosque Farms ACO didn’t do any of those things and instead took matters into his own hands, tossing in claims of animal abuse which no one in any official capacity knows anything about now.  Failure to do his job has left two families distraught, involved resources from multiple agencies and put a dog at the center of needless upset.  The article makes no mention of any disciplinary actions against the ACO who apparently failed to uphold his duties.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

3 thoughts on “NM ACO Adopts Microchipped Lost Dog to New Owner

  1. Well the rest of the story is weird, but it is certainly possible to not find the chip when you do a scan.

    A few years ago the shelter where I used to volunteer nearly adopted out a (great) dog to some friends of mine. Upon impound no chip was discovered. My wife and I did a little mini-foster of the dog over the holidays and our friends really liked her. Prior to the adoption our shelter did another scan and this time the chip came up. The original owner came and picked the dog up. Turns out that she had gotten the dog for her college age son (and had continued to send him money for the dog’s care). The dog escaped and the son didn’t bother to do anything to find the dog, and didn’t even let his mother know that the dog was lost (yet still accepted some money for dog food from her). The mother was none too happy about this. I wish I could have been there to hear that conversation.

    If the adoption had actually gone through, and THEN the chip would have been discovered, I’m not sure what would have happened next. But the dog went back to the original owner (the mother this time, not the son), and our friends adopted a different shelter dog.

  2. how strange also, that the dog in question is of the “desirable and popular breed” – German shepherd. And how in the heck do these animal control creeks evaluate for abuse, when an animal is in one of the most frightening places of all, a place where the abuse of unwarrented death looms about every single day?

  3. Many ACO’s and shelter staff are illiterate, lazy, money hungry bastards who don’t give a damn about animals. There should be consequences for these serious violations! They don’t realize the pain over the loss of an animal or perhaps they don’t care! It’s the same shelters killing animals who have a chance at rescue. It happens over and over. They need to be held accountable and punished according. James Rogers is one of the worst self impressed bastards I have read about! He needs to be fired!!

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