Friday, October 7, 2011

Beagle Wars

There was interesting news story making the rounds this week about a lost beagle that was turned into a shelter in West Virginia. I won't go into all the details because you can read them for yourself at these links.

Here was the original story:

And here is the outcome:

To make a long story short - the shelter wanted the owners to adopt the beagle back to the owner on their (the shelter's) terms. The owners were willing to pay the reclaim fees but disputed the fact that they needed to adopt a dog that already belonged to them.

The owners took their complaint to the County Commission who stepped in and helped them get their dog back. The Commissioner is unhappy with the way the shelter handled the situation initially.

"Couch suggested the county establish its own animal control services. Commissioners are none-too-happy with the situation and how things were handled, he said."

The way I see this - that shelter director had two choices when the situation arose:

1) Return the dog to the owner, make a big deal about a happy reunion, generate some good pr and goodwill and celebrate the fact that one less dog  needs a home.

2) Make a public relations nightmare with  inflexible policies.  Generate bad publicity, enrage the public, and  possibly incur a legal battle causing financial hardship and embarrassment to the shelter.

It was a no-brainer to me. What would you have done?

I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.
 - Abraham Lincoln


  1. I'm really torn about this whole thing. Yes, the shelter could have handled this waaaay better, but I don't disagree with the neutering part. It's very irresponsible of the owners to let their dogs roam free when they've not been neutered, so I don't blame the shelter one bit from wanting to prevent Rolo Jrs from running around and possibly becoming the responsibilty of the shelter later on.

    Secondly - I don't know how it works in their neck of the woods, or how many shelters they have, but my city has one. If you lose your dog, you call the humane society right away and make a report. Pretty simple. If the dog is found, problem solved. To wait 5 days before contacting the shelter is mind boggling to me.

  2. How can we both "win," keeping the dog and public happy? This has happened to me; with documentation, the owner came to claim her dog but I didn't need to see the documentation (photos and vet report) after seeing the dog go bananas upon meeting his mom again. I don't want "lost" dogs; I want them to go home! Choice number 1 is a no brainer.

  3. I wonder if folks would feel differently about returning an intact male beagle if it was discovered during a pre-adoption screening that the former owners (who lost the dog) had a barn full of female pugs and the beagle was to be part of their "breeding program" to produce "AKC Puggles"???

  4. The choice is clear. Always do what is good for the dog. Now, if the owners were offered an option to make a "little" donation, that would be a win-win. But it sounds like the owners were slow-witted clods (waiting FIVE days to report a lost pup), so their making a donation would probably not occur to them. Still, I am happy that the pup was returned to his home and hopefully, a lesson was learned. Don't leave your precious pups unattended or off the leash. EVER. Especially, scampering, nosy Beagles. ;-)

  5. There have been a couple of comments about the five days. I don't know what West Virginia is like but here in Wisconsin it is very difficult to locate all of the animal control facilities and shelters, especially if a dog has travelled outside of the municipality it was lost from. I talk to people every day who call the police when their dog goes missing but do not know where their local shelter is (or are even aware that there is one). Many shelters are located in industrial areas or on the outskirts of town - not in high visibility areas. And we have many aco's that are just a few dogs in a guy's garage.

  6. When will we get over the mindset that all animals are dumped. Here in Bexar County, Texas there are probably 60 rescues and no one wants to take found animals to the 75% kill-rate pound. Not all of the rescues post animals online, but adopt them right out. Bottom line, not a lot of animals get home. It is JUST luck if you get your loved one back. I see no excuse here for the shelter's action.

    Here is a similar incident from Houston SPCA

  7. Monica (Monikers), was the owner of the beagle doing something illegal in his breeding operation? Then the police should be notified and they should handle it. We now also have a new online complaint form that you can make against dog sellers if you feel that something should be addressed and is in violation of our new law.

  8. Kathy,
    I presume no one will ever KNOW if the breeder is doing anything illegal, because he didn't have to fill out an adoption application to get the dog back. That was my point.