On December 31, 2013, a dog named Hogan escaped from his yard in Valencia Co, NM. Owner Tracy Brooks had already microchipped Hogan and began posting lost dog ads online and putting up flyers around the county. She also filed a lost dog report with her local shelter – Valencia Co AC. One week later, Bosque Farms AC – a nearby village with one ACO on duty – picked up Hogan. Bosque Farms says they scanned Hogan for a chip and checked the Valencia Co lost dog reports, coming up negative on both. Bosque Farms AC normally works closely with Valencia Co AC and turns over unclaimed pets to the county after 72 hours. But in this case, Bosque Farms adopted Hogan to a new owner, Susan Miertl:
She said Bosque Farms Animal Control told her the dog’s previous owners badly abused him based on the dog’s behavior.
Everybody’s an expert.
When Hogan, renamed Thor by Ms. Miertl, was taken to a vet, the vet scanned him and found his chip. Although it’s not clear in the article exactly who contacted the Brooks family, the owners registered on the chip, they were apparently told where Hogan was living in Bernalillo County. A member of the Brooks family went to Susan Miertl’s home and saw Hogan in the yard. Ms. Miertl was not at home and Bernalillo County AC was contacted:
Bernalillo County said the dog jumped the fence and when Animal Control checked the microchip, it was registered to the Brooks family, so that is who they returned it to.
Handy, that fence jumping.
The original owners say they were threatened with animal abuse charges by the Bosque Farms ACO who also reportedly told the new owner not to return the dog to the alleged abusers.
Officials in Bosque Farms told KRQE they are not aware of any animal abuse claims or pending charges.
So at the end of all this drama, Hogan is back home with his original owners who fear retaliation for getting their dog back. Ms. Miertl believes the dog she adopted has been returned to animal abusers and has filed a stolen dog report.
All this could have been avoided if the impounding ACO did his job by finding the chip and contacting the owners. Failing that, he could have matched the dog up via the county’s lost dog report and contacted the owners. And failing both those things, he could have followed the local ordinance requiring him to turn Hogan over to Valencia Co when he went unclaimed. But apparently the Bosque Farms ACO didn’t do any of those things and instead took matters into his own hands, tossing in claims of animal abuse which no one in any official capacity knows anything about now. Failure to do his job has left two families distraught, involved resources from multiple agencies and put a dog at the center of needless upset. The article makes no mention of any disciplinary actions against the ACO who apparently failed to uphold his duties.
(Thanks Clarice for the link.)