NC Shelter Kills Microchipped Lost Dog While Owners Search for Her

It seems like I’ve written this post a thousand times.  Maybe I need to develop a template where I can simply fill in the lost pet’s name, the name of the shelter that killed him, the list of screw-ups that lead up to the killing and the list of people being blamed (which as it happens, never includes those doing the actual killing).  Every one of these needless killings is heartbreaking.  And here we are again.

Bella, as pictured on the abc11 website.

Bella, as pictured on the ABC11 website.

A social media post from Donna Sugar says that her chow mix Bella got lost while they were visiting friends in Durham, NC on November 2.  Bella was 14 years old and, like most large dogs her age, had a little trouble with her rear legs.

The family immediately went searching for her, posted fliers, hired two trackers, listed her as lost on the Animal Protection Society of Durham website and visited the shelter.  They never found Bella, even though she was at APS at the time they visited and she was microchipped.  APS killed Bella 26 hours after impound, citing health reasons.

A Good Samaritan found Bella wandering on the street shortly after she’d gotten lost.  She took the dog to a local vet the next day to have her scanned for a chip.  The phone number registered to the chip was no good and the Good Sam was not allowed to have a dog at her apartment so she called the sheriff’s office to pick up Bella.  A deputy took Bella to APS around 9pm.  He noted in his report that he had scanned Bella for a chip and contacted the registration company for contact info but they only had old info.  (The owner says this is incorrect as her home address was current.)  He also listed the owner’s name as Peggy Edwards which again, is not what the chip registration company had on file, nor is it the name of any known person connected with Bella.  When filling out the impound receipt, which was left with Bella at APS, the deputy left the microchip portion blank.

Bella was left, reportedly friendly and healthy, but with incorrect information on her impound receipt, at APS on the night of November 3.  By the morning of November 4, Bella was having extreme difficulty getting up and walking, per APS staff.  No one scanned her for a chip.

Ms. Sugar’s daughter had visited APS looking for Bella on November 3 and returned on November 4.  She brought a large picture of Bella with her to see if anyone at APS recognized her.  No one did.  She again searched the shelter but did not see her dog.  APS had Bella hidden from view in an area off limits to the public, due to her difficulty walking.

That night, APS staff made the determination that Bella was suffering and, instead of bringing her to a vet, they chose to kill her.  The tech reportedly scanned for a chip prior to the killing but did not find one.

Bella’s family is heartbroken.  Aside from forgetting to update the phone number listed with the chip registration company, they believe they did everything right.  I agree.  And even if they hadn’t, it was still APS’s responsibility to get Bella home.  It’s no good for APS to point fingers at the deputy for the bad info he supplied on Bella’s paperwork. He was at fault, but he didn’t kill Bella.

APS should have checked the lost dog listings on their own website against strays in their shelter.  APS should have scanned for and found Bella’s chip upon impound.  APS should have sent a letter (or a person, if feasible) to the address listed on Bella’s chip.  APS should have recognized Bella from her picture when the owner came searching for her (and even if they didn’t, they should have shown the owner every dog who they thought bore even the vaguest resemblance to the one in the photo).  APS should have shown the owner every dog in the facility when she was searching – even those who couldn’t walk or were being hidden from the public for any other reason.  APS should have taken Bella to a veterinarian when they determined she was in dire need of medical care. APS should have found the chip during the scan that was supposedly performed prior to killing Bella.

And for our standard ending: No one is being fired for killing Bella, the shelter will modify its protocols, blahcetera.

Killing shelter pets is not a thing that just happens. It’s a choice made by shelter directors. And it shouldn’t even be an option.

(Thanks Lisa.)

LA Pound Kills Two Lost Dogs While Telling Owner They Aren’t There

rufus-and-mikey

Rufus (top) and Mikey, as shown on the KTBS website.

When Amber McMillan’s dogs, Rufus and Mikey, got lost last month, she went to the long troubled Caddo Parish Animal Shelter in Louisiana looking for them. She brought photos of her pets to show staff and was escorted around the kennels. After not finding the dogs on her first visit, she filled out two lost pet reports. She returned to the shelter two days later to again show pictures and look for her pets. Three days after that, same. Then two days later. Even her parents visited the facility looking for Rufus and Mikey. But the staff repeatedly said they had not seen the dogs. When Ms. McMillan went to the shelter again, 12 days after her first visit, she was finally informed her dogs had been at the facility but were killed after the four day holding period expired. No staff member had ever contacted her about the dogs.

When asked by local media for an interview about the killing of Rufus and Mikey, pound director Chuck Wilson refused. But in a statement issued by the parish, the pound accepted full responsibility for their violent actions which needlessly and permanently ripped a family apart. Only joking. They complimented themselves and blamed the owner:

[I]n their press statement, the parish says “no paperwork pertaining to Ms. McMillan’s missing pet report was misplaced or improperly located.” The statement goes on to say, “proper protocol and procedure was followed.”
[…]
“Unfortunately, [Ms. McMillan] did not identify her pets after each visit.”

So to recap, they HAD the lost pet reports with the descriptions of the dogs and the owner’s contact information the entire time, they just never contacted her. And the lady was too dingy to recognize her own dogs so shrug.

Ms. McMillan posted a response on social media, describing herself as heartbroken:

They were my babies for over 10 years.
[…]
Every time I went in and showed pictures they claimed [the dogs] hadn’t come in and had no record of them being there.
[…]
I did not overlook my dogs that I have had for over 10 years. They were not in the areas I was shown.

I believe you Ms. McMillan. And I’m sorry your beloved pets fell prey to monsters who kill the very animals they are paid to protect from harm.

(Thank you Clarice.)

Polk Co Pound Kills Microchipped Lost Pet Upon Impound

lefty

Lefty, as shown on WTSP.com

Kristi Durham adopted a special needs beagle who circled to the left and named him Lefty. She moved from Kentucky to Polk Co, FL in August and the following month, Lefty accidentally got out of his yard. A good Samaritan saw him in the road and reportedly took him to a vet. The vet reportedly instructed the finder to take the dog to Polk Co Animal Control. The pound vet determined Lefty needed to be killed immediately but there was a pesky problem of him having a microchip:

“We did make, I feel, a reasonable amount of effort to locate this owner, unfortunately the [microchip registration] service gave us a bad number [with two digits reversed],” said [Polk County Sheriff’s spokesperson Carrie] Horstman, who said animal control staff spent at least 20 minutes calling the microchip company and a disconnected number.

Twenty minutes. Then they killed the dog. A dog whose owner had already called Polk Co to ask if they had, within the last hour, impounded any left-circling beagles. Pound staff said no. Lefty’s family gave their contact information to staff and asked to be called if any left-circling beagles were brought in. They never received a call. The county explains it this way:

[T]he dog was not entered into their database because it was not entered into the kennel – it was euthanized due to the Vet examination.

Even though the microchip’s first contact number was off by two digits, there was a secondary contact number which the owner says was her cell phone, still in service, even though she’d moved. Had Polk Co called the secondary number, or called in response to the lost dog report filed by the family minutes before Lefty was impounded, they could have reached the owner. I guess it might have taken 23 or 24 minutes or some other time that is apparently too damn long.

And yet somehow, the county considers that a “reasonable amount of effort” was made to find Lefty’s people. Plus the pound vet provided them with cover:

“In our vet’s expert opinion the dog didn’t have a good quality of life,” explained Horstman.

Hmm, doesn’t seem like he has a good quality of life. Let’s kill him and see how his quality of life is after that. Otherwise, we’ll have to actually set up a kennel and enter him into the system which sounds too much like work.

Polk Co stands by its actions in the killing of Lefty but is willing to toss the heartbroken family a crumb:

She’s welcome to come to animal control and we’ll give her a pet for free. We certainly don’t want this to ever happen again,” said Carrie Horstman[.]

Hey, free pet. Because they are interchangeable. And we don’t want this to happen again. Not that we have admitted any wrongdoing or made any changes to prevent it happening again. I guess what I’m saying is, we don’t want to get caught killing someone’s beloved lost pet upon impound again. Yeah, that’s it.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

Philly ACCT Gives Lost Pet Away, Tries to Blame Finder

jake

Jake, as shown on Philly.com.

A dog named Jake got lost on July 13 in Philadelphia. His owners, Vickie and Mark Remolde, began looking for him immediately. Meanwhile, a good Samaritan had found Jake running loose and taken him to the Animal Care and Control Team (ACCT) so that his owners could find him. It didn’t work out so well:

[Chris Ferraro] says he took the dog to ACCT and filed a report with the shelter and provided his contact information. That’s when he says another man in the lobby approached workers about taking care of the dog until the owners came forward.

ACCT staff gave Jake to Man in Lobby. When the Remoldes came to the pound looking for their lost pet, they didn’t find him. Because staff had given him to Man in Lobby. Who then disappeared.

“It was a complete and total joke,” Ferraro said. “As a dog owner myself, it gives me great concern that God forbid if I ever lost my dog, it’d just be given to some random person off the street.”

Vickie Remolde says she asked ACCT to send someone to the address provided by Man in Lobby but when they did, it was Some Other Guy who lived there so shrug.

ACCT issued this statement regarding Jake:

“The dog that we believe to be Jake was never relinquished into ACCT Philly’s care. An individual who found a dog that matched Jake’s description brought the dog to ACCT Philly on July 13th, but before filing a lost report, passed the dog to another person, and left. We do not know why the original finder chose to do this, and we do not condone this kind of interaction between members of the public, but do not have the authority to restrict it. The second individual, who now has the dog that matches Jake’s description, provided identification and completed a found animal report, which is in line with ACCT Philly policy and procedure.

When an owner that matched the description and circumstances of the dog on this report came forward, ACCT Philly reached out to the individual who filed the lost report in order to reunite the family. Attempts at contact over the phone and in person have proven unsuccessful, but we are continuing to do everything in our power to reunite Jake and his family.

48 hour stray holds begin when a dog is taken into our facility. We do not have ownership of animals that have not been formally relinquished into our care and are unable to seize or force them to be turned over.”

Basically: We know nothing of this, how you say, doog and even if we did, nothing is our fault and that good Samaritan sucks so hard, amirite?

That explanation went over like a rock tied to a bigger rock and the owners began investigating the circumstances of Jake’s disappearance themselves. They connected with Mr. Ferraro and got some additional details:

Ferraro said he was giving his information to a woman at the [ACCT] counter when another man walked in and asked if Jake was his dog.

When Ferraro said no, the other man asked if he could have Jake.

“No,” Ferraro replied. “He’s someone else’s dog.”

At this point, Ferraro said an ACCT kennel attendant came over and told the second man that if he wanted to have the dog, he could. Ferraro said he protested.

The attendant said the second man could have Jake as long as the owner had a chance to reclaim him.

The second man’s information was taken by ACCT and he was allowed to leave with Jake.

None of this was related to Mark less than 48 hours later, when he arrived at ACCT. [emphasis added]

Oh snap.

You_Sit_On_A_Throne_Of_Lies

The Remoldes did not give up. They returned again and again to ACCT, demanding accountability and the return of their pet. When it was determined that Man in Lobby had given a phony address, they worried that Jake had been taken for nefarious purposes. They asked ACCT to show them video footage of Man in Lobby, hoping for an additional clue. ACCT refused. The owners got a lawyer.

Suddenly, magically even, Man in Lobby produced Jake and the Remoldes got him back. He’d lost a considerable amount of weight, had a red rash on his neck and his tail was burned “black, like charcoal.” No longer his playful self, Jake is now reportedly fearful. The owners spent $175 at the vet getting their pet fixed up.

ACCT waived its usual fees for Jake, the dog they tried to claim they didn’t really know, because they’re cool like that. But that public, soooo irresponsible:

[ACCT executive director Vincent] Medley said that if Ferraro was uncomfortable with the proceedings, which Ferraro protested, he should have asked for a supervisor.

I assume the good Sam was drunk at the time and wearing a slutty short skirt. You stay classy, ACCT.

Kinda makes you wonder why Man in Lobby types would feel comfortable hanging out at ACCT, scoping out dogs and why ACCT would pass them dogs so casually, then lie about it and hide evidence.

No mention of any criminal charges for anyone.

I also wonder how many other lost pets ACCT gave to Man in Lobby types. Pets whose owners couldn’t afford a lawyer or didn’t realize they needed one.  Pets whose tails may have been burned and then whatever else happens when there is no owner going on TV and raising holy hell, fighting for the return of their pet.

No mention of any criminal charges for anyone?

 

(Thanks Clarice.)

A Lesson in Empathy

mrchops ktnv

Mr. Chops, as pictured on the KTNV website.

What sucks:

A Good Samaritan picked up a lost dog in Henderson, Nevada last month and brought him to a local vet.  The vet scanned him for a chip and determined he had an owner.  The vet then called AC to pick up the dog.  Right then and there, either the vet or the ACO (or both) should have contacted the owner.  But that did not happen.  Instead, the ACO loaded the dog onto his truck then went on several other calls.

Meanwhile the dog’s family, Jim Whipple and his 17 year old son Brandon, were actively searching for him.  Mr. Chops had been rescued by the Whipples many years ago and was well-loved:

The Whipples say Mr. Chops loved to play with socks and was full of energy.
[…]
“If something was going on, he was always there to comfort you.”

At 4:30 pm, the ACO returned to the shelter, parked the truck and left for the day.  It was 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mr. Chops suffered in the heat, trying to claw his way out of the cage, until he finally died.  His remains were discovered the next day when the ACO returned to work.  The police department, which runs AC in Henderson, is investigating itself in the matter and won’t comment on the investigation.  They will say however that in future, the policy will be to brings dogs back to the shelter in a more timely manner and to check the truck to verify there are no animals on it before leaving for the day.  Ya think?

Although I said it at the beginning, it’s worth repeating:  all that sucks.  Mr. Chops’ agonizing death was entirely preventable.  The dog never should have been loaded onto the truck in the first place.  A microchip, as we are so often scolded by various AC outfits, is supposed to protect your pet.  But as has been reported way too frequently on this blog, microchips only work when AC does their job.  Government investigating itself is unacceptable.  The fact that there was no existing policy which required ACOs to check the trucks before leaving them for the day is inexcusable.

What doesn’t suck:

When the Henderson police realized that Mr. Chops was dead, they wanted to notify the owners:

The family was notified in person by a Henderson Police deputy chief, people from Animal Control and a grief counselor.

By sending these particular people to the Whipples’ home to deliver the tragic news, the Henderson PD not only demonstrated empathy for the family but also respect for the fact that to most owners, pets are family. They recognized that in all likelihood, the news would be heartbreaking for the Whipples.

And while many of us might be tempted to issue a call for someone’s head as a result of the needless suffering and death of our beloved family member, Mr. Chops’ people responded differently:

The Whipples say while they hope to see policy changes, they do not want to see the officer who left Mr. Chops in the back of the truck to lose his job.
[…]
The Whipple family was obviously devastated, but says they realize it was a tragic mistake.

“Honestly, I understand people make mistakes they can forget things. I often forget things, but it is a life. He is gone,” Brandon Whipple said.

“We as a family are concerned about the poor individual that made the mistake and left him in because they have the grief to live with,” Jim Whipple said.

Both father and son saying they hope that everyone can learn from Mr. Chops’ death.

Yes, I believe we all just did.  Thank you.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Lexington-Fayette AC & C Oops-Kills Another Lost Dog

drake

Drake, as shown on the ABC 36 website.

Kentucky – When a friendly, healthy 3 year old dog named Drake got lost, he wandered into a neighbor’s yard.  The neighbor brought him to Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control so that his owner could find him.  When Drake’s owner, Vanessa Kyle, went to the shelter to redeem her pet, she did not see him in the cages.  When she went back again, staff told her they had killed Drake by mistake.  Oops:

“Why would you kill a perfectly healthy dog?” says Vanessa Kyle.

Good question, especially since, as we are so often chided by shelter killing enablers, nobody wants to kill animals.

And here’s your answer:  computer glitch.  Those pesky computers.  I didn’t even know computers could speak sternly to shelter pets, never mind kill them.  Maybe their role in shelter management should be reviewed.  Or something.

ABC 36 news called the Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control for answers. No one wanted to talk on camera, but someone there told me what they told Kyle – there was a software glitch. We asked if this happens a lot. We were told once every five to six years.

Ho-hum. Once every 5 to 6 years we kill someone’s lost family member.

Drake’s killing reminded me of the time Lexington-Fayette AC & C oops-killed Peanut, another lost dog whose owner was trying to claim him. That was 3 years ago:

Animal Control is supposed to keep stray dogs for five days. Peanut was euthanized after one. Animal Care and Control officials didn’t want to talk on camera[.]

One day, five days, whatevs.  Capt. Tim Mitchell of Lexington-Fayette AC & C told the media at the time:

“I can’t remember the last time it happened,” he said.

Can’t remember. Once every 5 to 6 years. Maybe 3 years.  But we don’t want to talk on camera. So shrug, I guess.

Meanwhile, Ms. Kyle’s life has been forever changed by the needless violence against Drake:

“It’s awful, I have cried constantly. You know for the first two or three days, I didn’t eat,” Kyle says.

[…]

“I loved him, I loved him,” says Kyle.

Kyle says she received a one dog adoption and city license gift certificate. It has to be used within a year.

Because there is a time limit on grief and compassion. But don’t worry, these people apparently can’t tell time anyway.

(Thanks Lisa.)

Police Facilitate Business for CA Dog Flippers

NBC Los Angeles described a story run on May 9 this way:

A man was reunited with his lost dog but was questioning why he was put up for adoption during his disappearance.

After reading the story, my take is uh, rather different.

jack

Jack, as shown in a video on the NBC Los Angeles website.

A woman was caught on surveillance video stealing a purebred Havanese puppy who slipped out of his owner’s workplace.  She takes him inside a neighboring business and neither are seen again.  The owner, Lou Gotowski, immediately began searching for his puppy Jack on numerous fronts.  Jack has two microchips.

The owner found Jack listed for adoption on a website belonging to a non-profit called Pet Match Rescue, 40 miles from where Jack was last seen.  In checking the website for this group, I noticed they have mainly white & fluffies, many of them pups.  Which seems odd.  As is this:

Gotowski said the minute he tried to claim the dog, his ad disappeared from the website. He also tried to catch up with the rescue group during an adoption event at a Petco, but Jack wasn’t there.

Sounds legit.  Ultimately two women from the group contacted the owner and told him he could buy his dog back for $525.  They met at the local police station and instead of arresting the dognappers, police supervised the ransom exchange while an ACO scanned Jack’s chip to verify it was him.

An officer brought the fuzzy 6-month-old pup out, and Jack began squirming in excitement at the sight of Gotowski.

Jack kissed his owner and wriggled in joy, clearly happy to see a familiar face.

Gotowski wondered why the microchip wasn’t scanned earlier – it could have saved weeks of heartache.

Or:  I wonder why dognappers/puppy flippers would not comply with the law and scan their victims before resale.  Hmmmm.

From California Penal Code section 597.1:

(m) It shall be the duty of all peace officers, humane society
officers, and animal control officers to use all currently acceptable
methods of identification, both electronic and otherwise, to
determine the lawful owner or caretaker of any seized or impounded
animal. It shall also be their duty to make reasonable efforts to
notify the owner or caretaker of the whereabouts of the animal and
any procedures available for the lawful recovery of the animal and,
upon the owner’s and caretaker’s initiation of recovery procedures,
retain custody of the animal for a reasonable period of time to allow
for completion of the recovery process. Efforts to locate or contact
the owner or caretaker and communications with persons claiming to
be the owner or caretaker shall be recorded and maintained and be
made available for public inspection.

Just leaving that there.

The women from the nonprofit told NBC4 there was no dispute, but would not say how Jack came to them.

And to reiterate, this was at the effing police station.

“I got Jack back, and forever am I grateful but my big deal is how many other people have lost their dog in this type of situation? That’s the scary part,” Gotowski said.

Ya think?

(Thanks Clarice and Nathan.)

Lying Idaho Shelter Kills, Lies, Blames and Lies

bunny

Bunny, as pictured on the KIVI website.

When Sheila Combs lost her family’s six year old Chihuahua/Boston Terrier, Bunny, on January 31, she immediately began looking for her.  Unable to find her beloved pet, she went the next day to the West Valley Humane Society in Caldwell. Bunny was not there so Ms. Combs filed an official missing pet report including an 8 X 10 photo and a detailed description of Bunny’s size, markings, wonky rear leg and three missing teeth. She was told that all missing pet reports are checked against new arrivals at the shelter. The family continued trying to find Bunny daily.  Although Ms. Combs never heard from the shelter, she visited again on February 9 to look for Bunny, just in case:

“They took me through all the rooms in the back where the dogs are in crates, and the new dogs that come in,” Combs said. “She wasn’t there.”

In fact, Bunny was there, having been picked up by AC on February 4:

West Valley Humane Society Executive Director Jonathan Perry says it’s unclear how Combs didn’t see Bunny in the lost and found area.
“As far as we know, it was always in the same kennel in the back, so it should’ve been seen,” Perry said.

Oops.

A stranger who had seen Ms. Combs’s online posts about Bunny contacted her on February 11 to let her know Bunny’s photo was on the shelter’s website.  Ms. Combs immediately called the shelter, understandably frantic over her lost family member:

“I said, ‘Listen! You’ve got to listen! That dog, “Tanna” on your website is my dog, I made a report, it’s in your book. I’m coming, it’s my dog don’t adopt her!” Combs explained.
By the time Sheila made it to the shelter roughly 20 minutes later, it was too late.

The director told the Combs family Bunny had already been adopted and initially, he declined to contact the adopters. After being pressed by Bunny’s family, he did make a phone call to the adopters, because you know, he cares, but had to leave a message.

Oops.

Turns out, those were all lies. The phone call? Fake.  The truth was that West Valley Humane had killed Bunny while the owner was on her way to reclaim her dog.

Oops.

Perry says the shelter vet saw stroke or seizure-like symptoms several times in Bunny beginning on February 7, and decided on the eleventh it was best for the dog to be put down.

See, the killing was totally justified. The vet saw seizures. Or strokes. Or something else medical sounding that begins with S. It was such a righteous killing that the director was motivated to fabricate an adoption story and make a *winkety wink* phone call to The Land of Make Believe to show he cared.

The whole wad of oopses and lies surrounding Bunny’s killing is the owner’s fault though, obviously:

Bunny wasn’t microchipped and due to her sensitive skin, she wasn’t wearing a collar at the time – something the shelter’s executive director says could have prevented the whole mix up.
While he says they plan to make procedural improvements to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again, he recommends all pet owners keep a current photo of their pets, always keep a collar on, and be sure all tag and microchip information is current and regularly updated.

And more blame from Brenda Cameron, president of the shelter’s board of directors:

“We had no way to call and inform the family their dog was in the shelter,” Cameron said.

No way except for the lost pet report. Or telling the owner in person when she was there looking through the kennels. Twice. No OTHER ways.

We do everything we can to reunite that animal with the family. Microchips help. Anything that we can identify the animal with. The owners did supply a picture but Bunny was actually an older dog with grey hair so that issue could have made things more difficult for volunteers or staff,” Cameron explained.

bunny at west valley

Bunny with grey on her face, as pictured on the KIVI website.

Oh my stars. Bunny had some grey hairs on her face therefore: unrecognizable. If only there was some way shelter professionals might be able to know that dog faces sometimes grey with age and that if the breed, markings, size, missing teeth and wonky leg are all a match between the lost pet report and the newly impounded lost pet, it’s worth a phone call to the owner. But I guess that’s just pie in the sky.

Oh and thanks, shortened hold periods:

In previous years, families have had their pets adopted out because they missed the three day deadline to pick up their missing dog or cat from the shelter. Cameron said the deadline used to be five days for lost strays, but the decision was made to shorten that time frame.

“When I came in, the shelter was overpopulated,” Cameron said. “We needed a way to move the dogs out of the shelter.”

When animals are in shelters for an extended period of time it can cause the pet to have mental, emotional and health problems in the future, she said.

A pet might go mental if they hold him for an additional two days. Must be a nice place.  It’s touching how concerned they are about moving the merchandise the possibility of PTSD in their dogs’ future but it sort of seems like the definite condition of DEATH should trump those concerns.

The board fired the director after he went on television and embarrassed them.  And they posted an apology to Bunny’s family on Facebook.  So obviously they take the killing very seriously.  I mentioned the apology, right? On Facebook.

*boop boop beep* I am pushing the buttons on my pretend telephone to call the Mayor of Impudentville because you know, I care.

(Thanks Clarice and Jan for the links.)

Discussion: Lost CA Sheltie Adopted by New Owners

An elderly couple whose lost Sheltie got picked up by Stockton Animal Services in December was pulled by a rescue group then adopted while the owners were still searching for her.  The new owners, who had Tipsy for around 2 weeks by the time Mr. and Mrs. Robinson found out what had happened to their pet of 8 years, are refusing to give her back.

[Sharon] Robinson was 10 days too late, and the new family was already in love with Tipsy.
“I just want… I want her back,” she said.
She’s heartbroken and has even offered the new adoptive family a refund for Tipsy’s adoption fee. They have declined.
“They’ve loved her for a little over two weeks. I’ve loved her for eight and a half years.”

Mrs. Robinson still has the pedigree that came with Tipsy when she was a puppy. She searched for her to the best of her knowledge and ability, even when she was sick. She is heartbroken and can not talk about Tipsy without crying. Although it’s impossible to know how Tipsy is feeling, it would be hard to imagine she is not missing the only family she ever knew.

Setting all this aside for the moment, I found this troubling:

We also reached out to the city of Stockton’s Animal Services. They declined an on-camera interview. The animal services department is now investigating Tipsy’s case to see if the proper protocol was followed.

The pound doesn’t know if proper procedures were followed? And they won’t discuss the case? Not good.

Back to Tipsy’s ownership:  On the one hand, Mrs. Robinson certainly presents a reasonable case that Tipsy was well cared for and loved by her family.  I don’t think the new owners would have any worries about her quality of life if Tipsy was returned.  On the other hand, the new owners had a Sheltie who died recently and found Tipsy, whom they were told was a stray and that no owner had claimed her.  They adopted her in good faith and instantly fell in love with her, something I think we all can relate to.  Getting a new pet helps some owners in the grieving process and perhaps Tipsy has been providing much needed comfort to the new owners.

What would you do if you had adopted Tipsy under these circumstances?  Mrs. Robinson says she may hire an attorney.  That might not be a bad idea, especially considering that the pound doesn’t know if proper procedures were followed (which opens up the possibility that Tipsy was not held for the legally mandated holding period and therefore not eligible for release to the rescue group in the first place).  I would hate to see a lengthy court battle in this situation, or any pet custody situation really.  What other options might exist for the Robinsons?

(Thanks Anne for the link.)

Lost Pets in Michigan Lose State Protection

The distressingly bad and wealthy Michigan InHumane has been trying for years to get legislation changed to reduce and eliminate mandatory holding periods for lost pets in shelters.  (And when MHS hasn’t gotten its way, it just blatantly ignores the law.)  Its current proposed bill is terrible.

mi hb4915

Portion of terrible HB 4915 in Michigan.

Unfortunately, the state department of agriculture recently caved on the issue and announced it will no longer enforce the law regarding mandatory holding periods in shelters.

Meanwhile, Michigan rescue groups continue to import shelter pets from the south, citing “no pressing need” to help locally.

If you are a Michigan resident, please take action to protect lost pets from being abandoned or killed by your local shelter before their owners have a chance to find them.

(Thanks Clarice.)