NY Shelter Refuses to Return Elderly Lost Dog to Family

Manson, as pictured on the CBS 6 website.
Manson, as pictured on the CBS 6 website.

When Alysha VanDyke’s 13 year old min pin slipped his collar and got lost last month, she began looking for him but there were no sightings of the dog, named Manson, for weeks. She thought that because of his advanced age and poor health, Manson may have gone off to die. But then a friend saw a posting on Facebook of a dog being offered for adoption by the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley. The dog looked like Manson so the friend alerted his family:

“We were like, ‘Oh my God here he is!’ And we thought that this was the greatest ending and everyone would be happy. Only to find out that was not so,” VanDyke said.

VanDyke says the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley refused to give her dog back when she called and then showed up at the shelter the very next day.

“It felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. It’s like he’s here but I can’t see him? And now I can’t have him?” VanDyke said.

Ms. VanDyke says she showed photos of Manson to the shelter as proof of ownership. But shelter staff told her she wouldn’t be getting her dog back because he wasn’t neutered and therefore she’s obviously a crummy owner. Then they called the cops and had her escorted out of the place. The local CBS affiliate has repeatedly contacted the shelter and its attorney but their only response has been: Hide.

The shelter did post on Facebook about the situation with Manson. They basically say it’s the stupid owner’s fault she didn’t get her dog back because:

  • Didn’t reclaim him fast enough.
  • Not licensed.
  • The proof of ownership she provided was unacceptable.

Also, if the owner does somehow provide the sort of proof of ownership they fancy (while she’s being taken away by police, I guess), she’ll have to pay the extensive vet bills they’ve run up on the dog in addition to the other fees they charge.  Meanwhile, a feeble old dog is sitting in a shelter while his family is waiting for him at home.

So yeah the mandatory holding period expired.  But the shelter knows who the owners are NOW, knows they want their pet back, and knows how hard it is for old dogs removed from their home environment.  Why would you call the cops on someone trying to reclaim their pet – because they didn’t neuter the dog?  Why not use the opportunity to educate the owners, get the dog back home and look like heroes to the public?  Keeping the dog under these circumstances is just ugly.  I guess HIDE sounds like a reasonable plan for the shelter at this juncture.

(Thanks Clarice and Jan for the links.)

27 thoughts on “NY Shelter Refuses to Return Elderly Lost Dog to Family

  1. NY Shelter, REALLY you know the owner of Manson, Just give him back and stop being
    idiot’s all the time. Shelters such as ur’s and the wonderful MAS and Staff need blown
    off the MAP!!!!!!!!!

  2. Doesn’t the owner have a nice friend or neighbor who could claim her dog for her, then return it to her? This animal POUND needs to be POUNDED into reality who want and love their pets.

  3. What do they think they’re going to do with this dog? Very few people are looking to adopt dogs that age. Give the poor dog back to his people FFS.

    Oh, and our little friend is over there in the comments using her twisted logic to blame the owner and defend the shelter.

    1. If this dog is available for adoption, can someone else adopt him and get him home? This is one of the most evil and dumb things I have ever heard. They don’t care about the dog, just want to punish the owner. Damn them!

  4. I just commented on that shelter’s FB post; it was immediately deleted and I think I’m now blocked. Wow. Just…wow. I hope the family returns to the shelter with their vet records or any other proof of ownership. They should NOT give up or the dog will likely die there.

    Thanks for the stories you share. There is so much work to be done. The moment a shelter takes this judgmental stance against “bad” pet owners, the animals are in trouble. Better to educate pet owners than to kill animals when a home is available to them.


    1. I’m glad he’s been reunited with his family, but wow, that’s a lot for a neuter. I guess Schoharie County doesn’t have a low cost s/n program?

  5. There was a senior citizen in Carson City, Nevada a few years back that couldn’t pay the ransom to get her old dog out of jail at the Carson City animal control and the dog was euthanized. She sued the city after an attorney took her case pro bono because he felt sorry for her loss and the heartless killing of her dog and she won.

    It won’t bring her dog back, but Carson City was forced to change their “protocol”, so at least her old dog didn’t die in vain after ugly human nature took over and he was killed because of greed and “rules” that don’t ever favor the animals or poor people or people on a fixed income that live alone except for their beloved dog or cat to keep them company.

  6. It looks like they bowed to public pressure at least somewhat:


    Apparently a rabies vaccine miraculously became proof of ownership. Because a vague description that is four words or less is so much more accurate than photos. Who knew.

    They still forced the owners to fork over almost $450 dollars (from what I’ve read, they are a cutest reimbursed all medical costs by the local government) and subjected a 13 year old dog to alteration surgery.

    1. Correction: The owners had to pay $485. I rounded the wrong way. So almost $500 for a microchip, dental, and forced alteration when they are already subsidized.

      I hope those who donate still take note of that.

  7. We are tracking and trying to help a similar case in Seattle, where an 11 year old rat terrier was handed in to the local shelter when the 35 year old owner collapsed on the street with a grand mal seizure. The handyman at her condo took the dog named Jack to the shelter. When the owner contacted the shelter 2 days later, they refused to give her dog back. Now it was the THIRD time in a month she had been hospitalized – she had had a craniotomy and was not expected to have any seizures recur – and she had bailed the dog out to the tune over $500. immediately both previous times. No reason has been given her for the failure to let her have dog back, she has had zero response from the shelter from over 30 emails and phone calls, plus we (the local JRT rescue) wrote a letter on her behalf (both email to the shelter director and a paper letter ditto). ZERO response. Although her dog – whom she had owned since he was a puppy and who was neutered and very well cared for – was never posted online, she was finally told the shelter had adopted him out. We do not even know if this is true. She is completely shattered.

    1. Is there a petition? There is so little specific information in Kyra’s post that I have no idea how to help. Please provide something so we can find out what happened.

      1. In the end, nothing happened because the woman gave up. We had lined a lawyer up for her and media coverage. She was exhausted and did not want to fight any more.

  8. It is time for animal control facilities to change their mindset. Owners should not be punished. They are our family members. Work with these families to keep the animals in their own home. They do not need a new home.

  9. One of the quickest ways to alert the general public to situations like this is to bring it to the attention of local TV news stations (and some national TV media like FOX and CNN ~ whatever else I/we may think of them ~ may also publicize them), and online news sites: HuffPost has more than one section devoted to animal/pet issues (including a Good page about pitbull breeds), and Examiner.com also has web pages (www.examiner.com/dogs, http://www.examiner.com/topic/animals) and Facebook pages (National Dog News Examiner, National Dog Rescue Examiner, National Pet Rescue Examiner, Animal News Examiner) devoted to animal issues. They are often responsive to requests to publish stories like this, and the number of readers, and their response, can generate enough momentum to save animals that would otherwise not make it. If they won’t respond to a request to one of their writers, you can still post to their facebook pages.

    Another action that can help in cases like these is to start an online petition with Change.org, ForceChange, Care2, Avaaz.org, etc., at least, if there is some time for signatures to be collected and delivered. I’ve seen it happen. It is certainly worth a try in such cases.

    I hope this is helpful. I am so disgusted and infuriated by these stories that I am trying to stick to the options rather than say what I feel like saying… I am glad Manson’s owner was able to get him back. I am sick over the story about the Jack Russell terrier who was taken from his owner while she was incapacitated. ALL of these are worth bringing suit against the shelter officials in a court of law, whatever the outcome… but I am all too aware how difficult or impossible that option may be for so many people who are just trying to make ends meet.

    1. We plan to file a FOIA request with the shelter. We did inform the media and we had no response from the main stream stations. The local Seattle Dog Spot blog author made a lot of helpful noises, and he actually volunteers at that shelter, but he was evidently unable to get any information either (or didn’t want to rock the boat). A couple of other people with influence at the shelter commented that the owner did not deserve to keep her dog if she was going to have massive (and unexpected) neurological events. We want to know what happened to Jack and why they did not respond to requests for information. Also what their policies/criteria are on NOT returning a dog to the legal owner.

  10. There are times I wish my father was still alive, He was a great NY State attorney. He would have taken the case for Manson’s owners,,,,,pro bono (No Charge)….As far as the shelter,,,he would have chewed them up and spit them out for breakfast….they wouldn’t have even known what hit them. In the end…he would have had the shelter “”Paying Manson’s Onwers””) $$$ to take him back along with covering all fees the shelter ran up…shelter Responsible. ……………….I know this is 2021…can you bring me up to date? I’m assuming little Manson has passed away by now. I’ve thought about this story alot in the past few years,,,,Cyn

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