Shelter Sold Owned, Microchipped Lost Dog to Strangers While Owner Searched

Jingle and Toby, a pair of Schnauzers owned by Anita Sloan in Bedford, Texas, wandered away when someone accidentally left a gate open at the family’s home.  Ms. Sloan raised the pair from pups and considers them family.  She began searching for them immediately, hoping the microchip she had implanted in Jingle would help the family get reunited.

Ms. Sloan visited Bedford Animal Services but did not find her pets.  She was given a lengthy list of shelters to search.  She dutifully visited each one although there was some confusion about the two shelters in Keller:

Sloan explains she visited all but one shelter in Keller. The number printed for the shelter on the list she has, got her nowhere.

“The person you are trying to reach is not available,” a recording says when she dials the number.

The city apparently has two shelters:  Keller Animal Services and Keller Regional Adoption Center.  As it turns out, Jingle and Toby had been picked up by police and left at Keller Animal Services.  The city says it checked both dogs for chips but found none.  After the mandatory holding period, the dogs were transferred to the Keller Regional Adoption Center which is run by the HS of North Texas.  Staff there did detect Jingle’s chip but sold the dogs to a new owner anyway.  Because it’s not their job to return dogs to owners:

“At that particular facility we don’t handle lost and found animals. We just handle adoptions,” says Whitney Hanson, Director of Development & Communications.

Hanson explains that the facility would have only been looking at finding homes for the pets since Keller Animal Services had already processed the animals.

[…]

The Humane Society of North Texas says there is no existing system that allows all municipalities to communicate.

There is no existing system which allows all municipalities to communicate.  Fair enough.  But the HS knew Jingle was chipped.  Finding that chip should have prompted the HS to check the transfer paperwork and see if Keller Animal Services had followed up on the chip and what the outcome was.  The HS had an obligation to verify that the chip was a dead end before proceeding.  A statewide communication system is not required for that – just a phone call or email to Keller Animal Services to ask about the chip’s status.

And while it may not be the Humane Society’s job to return animals to their owners, common sense would dictate that a pair of schnauzers, typically a professionally groomed breed purchased from a breeder, aren’t walking the streets because they are homeless and just happened to meet each other in an alley and decided to pal around.  There would be every reason to suspect Jingle and Toby were owned, likely by the person who registered the chip, whom the HS never bothered to call.

Jingle and Toby are now living with people in Houston.  The HS of North Texas says that “according to Texas law, the schnauzers are the legal property of their new owners”.  The situation has been explained to the new owners and Ms. Sloan has offered to reimburse them for any expenses if they would return her family members.  They are reportedly considering what to do with the dogs.

Keller Animal Services failed to detect a lost dog’s microchip.  The HS of Texas detected the chip but made no effort to find out if Keller Animal Services had attempted to reach the registered owner.  The city says no one is at fault.  The situation looks bad.  It looks like the first shelter is either incompetent or lying and the second shelter is a money-grubbing doggie retail outfit where no one could be bothered to slow down in the rush to sell a bonded pair of little purebred dogs.

It’s 2015, Keller.  Time to step outside the Only This Thing is My Job and I Do Only This Thing box.  You may not have a statewide shelter communication system but I’m guessing there is such a thing as phone service in Keller.  Shame on everyone involved in the needless break up of this family because apparently no one at either shelter knows what the right thing to do is when it comes to pets.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

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9 Comments

  1. bestuvall

     /  July 15, 2015

    Retail rescue at its very finest. It is ALL about the4 money .. oh and a little polish for thirteen halo for saving two dogs from “irresponsible onwers” that “let them run loose” This story happens everyday see SAVING MAX BOWMAN AND BRING PIPPER HOME two stories where the “rescues” refuse to return dogs to KNOWN owners.. it is truly disgusting

    Reply
  2. bestuvall

     /  July 15, 2015

    sorry no glasses polish for their haloes

    Reply
  3. One has to wonder if the shelter *ever* finds microchips in pure bred dogs? Because, you know, money.

    In fact, I would be inclined to find out how many microchips they detect in a year. Any? Are they even scanning? Do their scanners have batteries in them? Do they know how to scan properly? Are there two scans – one on intake and one before selling/transfer?

    I do hope the adopters give her the dogs. It’s the only decent thing to do, honestly.

    Reply
  4. According to the comments on the article, the dogs were returned. I pray that is true.

    Someone claiming to be the adopters’ (the article and groomer refer to adopters plural, but then imply the dogs are together) groomer claim the dogs were covered in “sticks and burrs” and appeared homeless. Which might well be part of the “problem”. Someone thought they were mistreated and “accidentally on purpose” failed to find the chip.

    I spent an hour yesterday getting burrs out of one my dogs. She has long fur, so she catches more and they are harder to get out. She was out only five minutes when she got them. She never left my yard. She found the one plant I missed when I pulled weeds the other day and rolled in it.

    Dogs can look like they have been homeless for months in under ten minutes when outside. This whole judgement based upon outward appearance has to stop.

    Reply
  5. Okay, I found a statement from the dogs’ owner on Facebook. I’m on my phone, and it won’t let me copy/paste a link. But the page it is on is “Bring Toby and Jingle Home”. There are only a few posts on the page as a whole, the statement is the first one after the pin.

    Good news: they are home! The person who got them gave them back yesterday.

    But what happened is far more hinky than the news let on. The HS has a policy of NOT scanning for chips. But a former (they fired him within the last couple of days) employee checked anyway when doing the adoption and found the chip. He notified his supervisor who took over and finished it.

    She then falsified paperwork. She said they had been at their shelter for a month. They were there one day. She also CHANGED THE CHIP! She went in and changed it to the adopter, then put on the paperwork they were the ones to implant it that day. It was implanted in 2008.

    Reply
  6. KateH

     /  July 16, 2015

    “There is no existing system which allows all municipalities to communicate.” Duh, there has been a very reliable system that intelligent (and, frankly, not-intelligent) people have been using to communicate for, oh, more than 100 years in the US – the telephone. A person looks up a number in a book (or computer), lifts a telephone handset, inputs the chosen number, and holy crap, someone at the place the incoming call rings at, picks up the ringing ‘phone and a conversation can take place. The distances can be small, like a next-door neighbor, or, amazingly, clear around the country – and it actually has been possible to use this amazing system to communicate with people in other countries as well, for decades!

    Of course, the system is only effective when both parties actually use it. And if thinking outside a box is too frickin’ difficult for one or both of them, then they really shouldn’t be allowed to operate motor vechicles, for god’s sake!

    Reply
  7. KateH

     /  July 16, 2015

    Damn, that should be vehicles!

    Reply
  8. I’m sick to death of Shelter schemes! They’re a bunch of lazy bastards only interested in whatever money. The original owners should sue the Shelter for pain and suffering and demand that the supervisor who sold the dogs return the money and get fired! They don’t care about the heartbreak a missing animal causes! My teacup Chihuahua was lost 11yrs ago and I still grieve formy pet! How can people be so insensitive! They suck!

    Reply

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