An elderly couple whose lost Sheltie got picked up by Stockton Animal Services in December was pulled by a rescue group then adopted while the owners were still searching for her. The new owners, who had Tipsy for around 2 weeks by the time Mr. and Mrs. Robinson found out what had happened to their pet of 8 years, are refusing to give her back.
[Sharon] Robinson was 10 days too late, and the new family was already in love with Tipsy.
“I just want… I want her back,” she said.
She’s heartbroken and has even offered the new adoptive family a refund for Tipsy’s adoption fee. They have declined.
“They’ve loved her for a little over two weeks. I’ve loved her for eight and a half years.”
Mrs. Robinson still has the pedigree that came with Tipsy when she was a puppy. She searched for her to the best of her knowledge and ability, even when she was sick. She is heartbroken and can not talk about Tipsy without crying. Although it’s impossible to know how Tipsy is feeling, it would be hard to imagine she is not missing the only family she ever knew.
Setting all this aside for the moment, I found this troubling:
We also reached out to the city of Stockton’s Animal Services. They declined an on-camera interview. The animal services department is now investigating Tipsy’s case to see if the proper protocol was followed.
The pound doesn’t know if proper procedures were followed? And they won’t discuss the case? Not good.
Back to Tipsy’s ownership: On the one hand, Mrs. Robinson certainly presents a reasonable case that Tipsy was well cared for and loved by her family. I don’t think the new owners would have any worries about her quality of life if Tipsy was returned. On the other hand, the new owners had a Sheltie who died recently and found Tipsy, whom they were told was a stray and that no owner had claimed her. They adopted her in good faith and instantly fell in love with her, something I think we all can relate to. Getting a new pet helps some owners in the grieving process and perhaps Tipsy has been providing much needed comfort to the new owners.
What would you do if you had adopted Tipsy under these circumstances? Mrs. Robinson says she may hire an attorney. That might not be a bad idea, especially considering that the pound doesn’t know if proper procedures were followed (which opens up the possibility that Tipsy was not held for the legally mandated holding period and therefore not eligible for release to the rescue group in the first place). I would hate to see a lengthy court battle in this situation, or any pet custody situation really. What other options might exist for the Robinsons?
(Thanks Anne for the link.)