When I came into work yesterday, I had a message from a nice and very concerned sounding woman. In short, she told me she believed her dog had been wrongfully adopted out by the animal shelter in Tuscola County.
I wasn’t sure if it was story material, so I brought it up during our morning news meeting and asked for the opinions of my coworkers and editors. Immediately, debate on the matter sparked.
“Based on the conversation here at this table, it’s definitely a story. Go ahead,” my editor told me.
I began making calls and talked with the owner. You can read the full story, Family believes missing dog to be living in Rochester, which published today.
The basic facts of the story are this:
Owners look for dog; don’t find it. Someone suggests they call animal shelter; they do, but several days after the fact. Shelter tells owner: “Yes, we have a dog matching the description; we found it 14 miles away from your home.” Owner goes to shelter to get dog, physically sees dog, is sure it is his dog.
But by then, a person from Rochester has arrived to adopt the dog. That person takes the dog home while owner watches. Owner then fights to get dog back. Prosecutor’s office has several veterinarian opinions determining, based on the photos shown here, that the dogs are not one and the same. Owners don’t believe it. Owners veterinarian says it probably is the same dog.
And that’s the story.
- The owner told me he didn’t know to call the shelter because he thought the shelter was closed. The animal shelter had been closed due to funding issues several years ago. It has been open for a few years through a partnership with Sanilac County.
- The owner told me he thought dog licenses are sent in the mail with your tax bill and that he wasn’t aware he needed to get a new license. Also said the dog came with a license from its previous owner; the tag fell off and the guy decided to bring it inside for safe keeping.
- The owner, on several occasions, said he’d learned a lot from the experience — that if he could do it all over again, he’d have the dog microchipped, using an invisible fence and wearing dog tags.
Without further ado, here’s what folks are saying about this story:
dipchitblonde wrote, “the dog deserves to stay with the NEW mystery family. 1, you let your newly adopted dog run loose and you lost it. 2, you were standing right there at the facility and let a strange man drive away with your dog. if you were so concerned about the well being of the dog you would have practiced better control of the whole situation in the first place. put up a REAL fence instead of zapping a poor animal in the neck. (if the dog wants to get away, its going to break through that invisible fence anyway) prepare yourself BEFORE you get a dog. this was a valuable lesson at the expense of a lost, wandering and probably frightened dog and of your children.”
arizona wrote, “Must be nice to have enough money to spend on lawyers fees over something like this. Move on, get a new dog and learn from your misstakes!”
freedomlover wrote, “You're going to ‘sue’? Who? And for what? Get another dog, dude. And don't leave him outside in the freezing cold all night alone. And don't electrocute him, either. On second thought, don't get another dog. Just move on.”
mhelm1 wrote, “I'm sorry but these people shouldn't own a dog. An animal is part of the family, would you go to work after your little one wandered off? would you wait a week before calling the authorities? nuf said.”
On Facebook, Crystal Richards commented: “I don't think the point should be whether they are even the same dog, it should be what is best for the dog. If the previous owners let the dog roam free, without tags or anything to identify it, kept it chained up outside or in the garage... the rest of the time, and took so long to check and see if a shelter had the dog, past the point that it could have been put down or adopted out, maybe the dog is better off with a new family. If you want to keep your dog so badly, maybe you should take better care of it in the first place. None of this would have happened, had the dog been wearing tags, not allowed to roam free and had they checked sooner to see if the dog had been picked up.”
What do you think? Should the new owners return the dog?
Does the fact that this was an outside dog, and would be again if returned, impact your view?
Based on the photos, do you even think it’s the same dog?