Around midnight on May 19, 2021, a man was caught on a security camera removing a puppy from the Glynn County Animal Control facility in Georgia. Shelter manager Tiffani Hill told the Brunswick News that she believes the man is the puppy’s owner:
The Catahoula pup, another dog and three cats were found after firefighters extinguished a house fire recently on Copeland Road, Hill said. No one was home at the time of the fire, which was extinguished by county firefighters, she said.
Animal control officers took the dogs and the cats to the shelter for safekeeping, Hill said.
All incoming dogs are dewormed and vaccinated for their safety and that of all animals inside the shelter, Hill said. Hill said the owners did not wish to pay the release fee, which helps offset the costs of holding an animal.
Hill offered to let the owner wait until the seven-day hold is up then retrieve their pets through the adoption process. Adoption presently is discounted to $25. She suspects the owner did not want the dog spayed or neutered.
“We know they lost a lot (in the fire) so we gave him the option of waiting a couple of days and paying $25 for the adoption,” Hill said. “However, we suspect he would not like his dogs fixed by us, which is a requirement for adoption here.”
Hill said he returned and allegedly stole the puppy in the dark of night.
How is this not theft on the part of the county?
I don’t know this owner – maybe he’s a good guy, maybe not. I do know, courtesy of the shelter manager, that he “lost a lot” in a house fire, including his five pets, whom he apparently tried to reclaim. He was either unable or unwilling to pay the fees when the shelter tried to sell him his own pets. Shelters, don’t do this. Here you have an easy live outcome for potentially five animals – take it. When someone has just suffered a house fire, be kind. The victim may be suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, their medications may have been lost and they are scrambling to get new ones, family heirlooms may be damaged or lost, and possibly their sole source of comfort at the moment is the return of their pets.
I understand that shelters struggle with funding and that caring for displaced pets, even temporarily, has a financial cost. To be clear, I have no problem with a shelter asking for a donation to help offset costs in a case like this. But if a house fire victim says he doesn’t have the money, believe him. Send his animals home with him along with a donation request envelope for future, once he gets back on his feet financially. Advertise your good deed on social media, in your shelter newsletter, and with local news outlets asking donors to help offset these costs. It’s a win-win. Victim gets his pets back, hero shelter saves the day. But this whole “you can buy them back for this price or leave them here for a week, have us put them through surgery then apply to buy them back at a lesser price” is just a garbage policy.
In an unrelated case, three additional dogs were taken from the shelter that same week. The shelter manager had harsh words for all the alleged suspects:
“They committed burglary and they will be arrested and prosecuted,” she said.
Well bully for you. I wonder what the chances of educating any owners on the benefits of neutering their pets will be once you’ve pressed criminal charges against them. Maybe you can visit them in jail and hold a Spay-Neuter is Good pamphlet up to the glass.
Glynn County should end this policy and focus on the good that can be done supporting and educating local pet owners, not prosecuting them for the crime of wanting their pets back.