CA Rescue Group Adopts Dog Then Steals Him from Adopter


Blinky, as shown on the website.

A rescue scenario many of us can relate to:

A woman fell in love with a dog she met at a CA adoption event in early September.  She filled out an application, answering all questions truthfully, including that she had a full time job and no other pets.  She was approved, paid the $300 fee and took the dog home.  She renamed him, considering him part of her family now.  She bought him chew toys and doggie clothes in addition to knitting him a sweater herself.  She promised to protect him for the rest of his life.

Sound familiar?  I have been in those shoes.  But then:

After 3 weeks with her new family member, representatives from the rescue group came by the woman’s home.  They informed the adopter that her truthful answers on her adoption application were disqualifying.  The dog required someone to stay at home with him every day and he required other pets to play with.  His new name was unacceptable, as was the fact that the woman allowed him to snooze on the couch.  The woman was stunned.  One of the reps asked if she could hold the dog and the owner agreed.  The rescue reps then ran from the home, carrying the woman’s pet with them.

The woman is heartbroken and told a local reporter she loves her dog Blinky with all her “heart and soul”.  She feels she failed him.

HALO, the rescue group that stole Blinky from his owner, said this when contacted by the media:

“We are taking this matter very seriously but just need to follow the proper channels before we can make a public statement. Please allow us our time to do our due diligence. The adopters check was never cashed and returned to her immediately.”

I have searched for news updates on this story but haven’t found any. I have also found what appear to be a website and a Facebook page for the rescue group but neither had any information on Blinky. If anyone knows what happened to Blinky, please post a comment.

Stories such as this, while they are the exception and not the rule, happen far too frequently.  They discourage adoption and turn the public off rescuing.  When pet lovers are driven away from adoption, they get their pets from other sources – usually those which rescues like to shame people for using.  If you don’t like the effect, stop contributing to the cause.

Human beings are fallible.  I hope in this case, the HALO reps realize they were the ones who were at fault, not the owner, and do the right thing to get Blinky home.

(Thanks Clarice.)



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, 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.)

Another Pound in the Magical North Under Investigation by Police

It sounds like at least some of the public employees in Oxford, CT don’t like local resident Vickie Tkacz. Ms. Tkacz is a nurse who also breeds dogs and apparently has trouble keeping her dogs in her yard.

In 2011, two of Tkacz’s Newfoundlands got loose and one of them killed another dog. That same year, a 7 week old puppy named Mia went missing from Ms. Tkacz’s home. She says she searched all over for Mia and called Oxford Animal Control repeatedly to inquire if Mia was there. Ms. Tkacz says she left numerous messages for ACO Cori Wlasuk for an entire week. Those messages were apparently never logged:

After the seventh day, Animal Control Officer Sandy Merry returned Tkacz’s calls and told her that the dog had been adopted because they didn’t hear from Tkacz within seven days, Tkacz said.

Ms. Tkacz reportedly saw a photo of a Newf on ACO Wlasuk’s Facebook page recently and recognized the dog as being from her lines. She believes that dog is Mia and that the ACO was the “adopter” from 2011. Ms. Tkacz filed a police report alleging the theft of the dog. She says she can prove Mia’s identity via DNA testing.

State police are currently investigating the pound and although the details of the investigation haven’t been made public, it presumably has to do with the alleged theft of Mia. First Selectman George R. Temple has closed the pound indefinitely while the investigation continues.

Temple told Tkacz at last week’s [Board of Selectmen] meeting that he sees her dogs roaming from time to time.

“Well I’m sorry I can’t contain them,” she replied. “Give me a ticket, but don’t steal them.”

This is the kind of situation every AC should be prepared to deal with – if containment is the issue, work with the owner to find a solution.  There are always going to be conflicts between AC and some of the residents they serve.  They should be handled in a professional manner by ACOs trained in conflict resolution.

It sounds like in this case AC was perhaps less interested in helping and more interested in punishing, possibly stealing an expensive puppy in the process.    I hope DNA testing is conducted to definitively determine if the Newf living with the ACO is Mia.  And if that turns out to be the case, I hope justice is served.

It is up to AC to lead by example.  If the selectman doesn’t like the behavior of a local dog owner, maybe he needs to take a look at how his town’s AC is demonstrating personal responsibility with regard to dog ownership.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)


Pets Go Missing After Animal Control Gets Involved

Doozie Bean, as pictured on The Evening Tribune's website.

Doozie Bean, as pictured on The Evening Tribune’s website.

Annie Allison and her family have owned their beloved cat Doozie Bean for 9 years. He’s been missing since May 7, when he was reportedly trapped in a neighbor’s yard by the ACO for Hornell, NY. Prior to setting the traps in the neighbor’s yard, Hornell Mayor Shawn Hogan states the ACO was supposed to knock on doors of area homes to alert residents. In addition, any cats trapped are supposed to be held for 5 days in order to give owners a chance to reclaim them. The ACO in this case, Gary Hadsell, appears to have not followed procedures.

After Ms. Allison brought her concerns to Mayor Hogan, the mayor denied any knowledge of traps being set. He says he talked with ACO Hadsell who reportedly admitted losing one of the cats he trapped. The ACO also apparently denied ever trapping Doozie Bean, claiming he has the ability to immediately distinguish feral cats from owned pets based on their behavior in the trap. The article doesn’t say if he also pulls rabbits out of hats or whether he’s available for kiddie birthday parties.

Mayor Hogan says ACO Hadsell has resigned. This too is clear as mud:

When reached for comment on his resignation, Hadsell said, “I don’t believe I did (resign). If you have any questions, call Shawn Hogan.”

Mayor Hogan also says that because of what happened with Doozie Bean, his city is getting out of the trapping business.

In the meantime, Ms. Allison and her family are heartbroken. She continues to search for Doozie Bean, driving around for hours, whistling for him and shaking cat treats out the window.


Blue, as depicted in a screengrab from the WREG website.

Blue, as depicted in a screengrab from the WREG website.

In West Memphis, AR a dog named Blue got spooked during a thunderstorm Saturday night and got lost.  A police officer took him to the West Memphis pound.  When Blue’s owner inquired at the pound Sunday, he was relieved to hear his pet was there.  But Blue’s cage was found empty.  Pound director Kerry Sneed says she personally locked the gate on Blue’s cage Saturday night and that it did not appear that he had escaped on his own.

For several hours Sunday morning, Sneed said there was a window of opportunity for people on the property to steal the dog.

Well gee.  Is that the sort of failure that taxpayers in West Memphis are supposed to accept?  What is being done to actually shelter animals from harm once they arrive at the so-called shelter?  Anything?

The owner, George Johnson, continues to walk the streets, calling for Blue.  He has made his e-mail address public in an effort to get any possible leads on the whereabouts of his pet:

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

The Spirit of the Season

In addition to Kapone’s return to his family, a couple of other stolen dogs have been returned to their homes this week.

A seizure alert dog named Bella was returned to the epileptic infant she helps in San Diego.  Police are investigating the possibility that an ex-girlfriend of the baby’s father stole Bella out of spite.  The tipster who called in Bella’s whereabouts refused the reward.

A Pitbull was stolen from a MA dog pound nearly two months ago.  His owners live in CT.  This week, he was returned to an ACO at the pound by two women requesting anonymity who said they wanted the dog to be home with his family for Christmas.  They refused the reward.  Look at the Lexus sized bow the pound put on this dog for the reunion!

(Thank you Arlene for sending me these stories.)

Have you seen any other stories about people doing the right thing for pets this week?

UPDATED: BOLO – Columbia, SC Stolen Dog


Columbia, SC – Scotty Johnson has a landscaping business and takes his 11 year old dog Kayla to work with him every day.  On Saturday, he left his truck running with Kayla asleep inside while doing some work at a residence.  The truck was stolen and now Mr. Johnson is heartbroken:

“She is so special,” said Johnson. “I mean, I talk to her. I know it’s stupid. But she understands everything I say. If she can’t find me, she will run everywhere, trying to find me, just going crazy.”


“She ain’t a dog. She’s my kid, and like I told my wife, it’s like I am letting my daughter down. I left my truck running with her in it. And they’re gone. I let her down,” said Johnson.

The truck has since been located but the trailer with Mr. Johnson’s landscaping equipment was not attached.  And Kayla was nowhere to be found:

If you have any information you are encouraged to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC. Or you can email News 19 reporter Nate Stewart at: NJSTEWART@WLTX.COM

Update, 3:30pm: There is no happy ending. Kayla has been found dead at the side of the freeway.

Crazy Case in NM

This is a rather strange story about the Heart and Soul Animal Sanctuary in NM who says they received three anonymous phone calls regarding an abused Yorkie at the Bureau of Land Management offices in Santa Fe.  Someone from the sanctuary went to the location and was captured on video surveillance removing the dog from a partially enclosed outdoor area of the facility.

The dog’s owner, a maintenance man at the Bureau of Land Management, took the dog (called Crazy) to work with him every day.  The owner had left him tied in the outdoor area briefly and returned to find him gone.  He called authorities, suspecting Crazy had been stolen.

Video surveillance of that event was published on The New Mexican‘s website Oct. 2 along with a news article. After it was clear from interviews that the dog was not abused, police say a friend of the bagman contacted law enforcement.

At that point, the dog, “Crazy” had already been placed for adoption with a family from Denver. That family, when informed about the mishap, offered the dog’s owner, Hector Gardea-Romero, $2,500 for the dog. He declined.

Police say no evidence exists that the dog was ever abused and their call for the public to respond with tips regarding the dog’s abuse has gone unanswered.  Crazy and owner are now reunited.  The sanctuary owner and the employee who took the dog are charged with larceny.

The sanctuary owner drove to the sheriff’s office to discuss the case Thursday in a vehicle carrying 15 dogs.  While she was inside, a local TV reporter notified AC that dogs were in distress in a vehicle at the sheriff’s office parking lot.  AC showed up, found the temperature inside the vehicle was 111 degrees, and seized the dogs.  One of the seized pups had a body temperature of 107 according to the sheriff.  Natalie Owings, the sanctuary owner, now faces 15 counts of misdemeanor cruelty in addition to the theft charge:

Depending on the money value placed on the stolen pet, the larceny charge can range from a petty misdemeanor to a fourth-degree felony, but jail time isn’t likely for Owings or her co-worker as neither has a criminal record. The animal neglect charges are all petty misdemeanors and would each carry a $50 fine.

Following the news story on the case (nope, it’s not over yet), several area residents whose dogs have gone missing phoned up the sheriff wondering if their pets could have been stolen by this sanctuary.  AC officers visited the rescue yesterday to take photos and scan pets for microchips in an effort to sort things out.

Stay tuned.

Stolen Puppy for Sale?

Border Wars has a post about someone claiming to have stolen a mixed breed puppy and advertised her on Craigslist for $125. Although I have no way of verifying the story, I do hope police will look into the matter. If it is true that the pup was stolen, let’s hope she is returned to her rightful owners and that police take the crime seriously. If it turns out to be a hoax, dude – not funny.