Posts Tagged ‘euthanasia’

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette: Lost dog claimed by others; deaf woman wants it back

Written by Alexandria Valdez, Press-Gazette Media, May 27, 2013

It was a snowy day in early March when Susan Heezen noticed that her 5-year-old dog Bear was missing.

Heezen, who is deaf and communicates with sign language, just figured the dog wandered off with another farm dog in their small community near Denmark. But two days later, Bear was still missing.

Heezen became worried because Bear was not just a family pet, he helped her in her daily life. Although Bear was not a trained service dog, he had learned some basic sign language and could follow some commands.

Heezen found out weeks later the black lab and German Shepard Pointer mix dog ended up at the Lakeshore Humane Society in Manitowoc, 23 miles away, and had been adopted by another family.

The shelter said it has a mandatory eight-day period in which it holds animals before they can be put up for adoption. In Bear’s case, eight days had passed since it received him on March 2 and the shelter said it didn’t hear about any lost dog and did not receive an inquiry from anyone about him.

A week after Bear went missing on March 2, Heezen said she contacted the Brown County Sheriff’s Department to file a report and then — in May — posted a lost dog ad on a website.

“All she wants is to plead to the general public, ‘This is my situation and I need my dog back,’” said Kathy Nichols, a volunteer for lostdogsofwisconsin.com. “She did ask Lakeshore to contact the adopted family and they said they did and the family said no.”

Heezen said Bear helped her and her husband in everyday life. He would alert them when people came over and was a constant companion with her when she worked on her in-laws dairy farm. Now, things are different without Bear.

“I feel scared without him because I live out in the country and I always depended on him for protection,” Heezen said through an interpreter. “So I’m nervous without him.”

Due to privacy laws, Heezen does not know the family who adopted Bear or where he lives now.

The dog was missing one critical thing when it came into Lakeshore that might have helped identify Heezen as the owner.

“Unfortunately, the most important item to identify his owners was missing; a rabies or ID tag, or a microchip,” the humane society said in a statement. “LHS staff scans every animal on intake to see if a microchip had been implanted. If a microchip is present, the dog’s owner might have been identified immediately.”

Heezen, however, said she is still going to fight to get him back.

“I’m not giving up,” Heezen said. “He’s still alive and I know that he’s always going to be in my life. While he’s alive I will be thinking about him and hope that I get him back.”

 

I have worked in animal shelters and that world does not paint a pretty picture.  There are happy endings and heartwarming stories, but there is a dark side that the public does not get to see.  This story brings about up questions for me and it upsets me more that I would have imagined.  It’s hard not looking at this story through my mind’s filter of having worked at animal shelters.  I have met loving owners, overzealous owners, and owners who love their pets more than life itself. And I have met dirty, rotten, scum-of-the-earth owners.  The kind that are so horrible that you begin to wonder why God has allowed them to live, only to harm another living being.  And I got to see the result of their actions.

From my point of view, if this dog was so vital to her, why did she not miss him immediately and search every possible place?  If it were me, I would not have waited days to see if he came home, a week to file a police report or two months in the case of the online ad.  I would have done it immediately and with all neighboring communities since Denmark is in the middle of nowhere. She should have looked in all directions, and immediately. Denmark is between Green Bay, Manitowoc, Kewaunee, and Appleton and is less than three miles from the corner of Brown, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc Counties.  When you live in an area that so closely borders two other counties, you have to take all necessary steps to report your missing pets to all the local shelters, no matter how far-fetched it may seem that they end up there.

lost dog county view

If you live near other counties, in this case it was less than five miles, you must look at all shelters in all counties.

lost dog state view

Check with all major cities near you.

It really isn’t a good idea to let your pet off leash.  I can’t help but wonder why he was even off leash?  Was there a collar and legible tags? If the habit was to let him run free, why wasn’t he mircrochipped?  If the dog does go back to her, I certainly hope she doesn’t let it off leash or outside alone again, especially if the dog is vital to her. She probably should have had it mircrochipped even if she was in the habit of making him wear a collar, lets him run free or just wants to be on the safe side.

Many shelters have online missing pet forms you can fill out, with photo, without even going to the shelter. Get in contact will all animal rescue agencies within 50 or 100 miles of the last known location.  Check back frequently.  Get the word out via flyers, neighbors, Facebook, Craigslist, newspapers, lostdogsofwisconsin.org, and other such organizations.

People are getting mad at the shelter. How long should the shelter have held this animal? The shelter did what they are supposed to do: find a home for an abandoned dog.  The original owner has to be willing to accept that she was partially responsible.  What would she be claiming if they would have had no more room and euthanized the dog?  Many shelters cannot keep all the animals that come in through their doors.  That is a cold, hard fact.  The job of picking out which ones are “most adoptable” is a gut-wrenching decision, one that all shelter workers wish they didn’t have to make.  We have to remember that shelters run on little money.  Funds are needed for food, medical, cleaning supplies, water, heat, and electricity.  Many of the “workers” are volunteers and can only do so much and the position of Pet Reuniter just isn’t feasible.  Shelters are not running a boarding facility and can’t hold stray animals for an indefinite period of time.  The goal of any shelter is to be empty.  The shelter did its job.  Additionally, if the new owners are forced to give back the adopted animal, how many people would be willing to adopt from a shelter if they might be forced to give it back?

For many, as soon as you meet an animal at the shelter and fill out your adoption application, you become emotionally invested.  It is not unlikely this is what happened to the new family.  We can’t blame them for wanting to keep their new pet.  For all we know, the adopted family wants to return the dog to the original home, but would like to make arrangements to be compensated for any adoption fees, veterinary expenses, etc.

I don’t think the original owner of the dog is a bad person, nor are the new owners vindictive people, but there are lessons to be learned here.  Go over the safety of your pet.  Do you have proper identification on him?  How about up-to-date photographs?  Are his vaccines current and are the vet records where you can get to them quickly?  Do you know which animal rescue groups you would call in case the worst happened?

Ultimately, we are the ones responsible for the pets we keep.  We need to be proactive in our searching and thorough when looking for our loved ones.  It is up to us to leave no rock unturned.

Since this event is happening in the area, I think it’s worth mentioning.

Pet microchip event offers discount, May 24, 2013

To help alleviate stress in finding lost pets, Bay Area Humane Society, 1830 Radisson St., is offering low-cost microchipping from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 15. Cost is $20.

A pet that has been microchipped can be scanned by animal control, animal shelters and most veterinary clinics to help link it to its owner through national databases. BAHS also recommends all dogs and cats have tags on their collars as a back-up.

Advertisements