Guilford County pound holds woman’s dog for ransom

So somehow my dog Trixie got out of the gate today while we were downtown at the Christmas Parade. When we came home, we found out from the neighbor that she had been picked up by the pound. I called down there to see if she was there, and what's the procedure for getting her back. Guilford County Animal Shelter [OFFICIAL] tells me it's a $30 fee for first timers, which in itself is ridiculous for a "first timer", but whatever. So I go down to get her with my Drivers License, and a copy of her rabies vaccine info and tag, with my matching address on it, only for them to tell me, that since she has a microchip from the person that gave her to me NEARLY 2yrs ago, they could not release her to me. They have the right to hold her for 72hrs (all the while charging me by the day), and then If she doesn't come up there and verify she transferred ownership to me, I have the "choice" to adopt her, fees and all! Are you kidding me!? The lady lives in Fayetteville, I don't even know her name, and of course they can't get in contact with her via the "microchip" number that's on file. I think it's piss poor, that the Greensboro Animal Shelter would deny me a dog that I've owned for 2yrs, because a previous owner is on the microchip, but I have 2yrs worth of vaccines in my name. Not to mention, she adopted her from a shelter, and only had her a couple months before she gave her to me. They would rather euthanize a dog, or let some strange family adopt her, than give her to her rightful owner. This is probably one of the dumb and stupid reasons that the shelters are so full, and pets are put to sleep daily..because either they have ridiculous protocol that doesn't even make sense on paper, yet alone in the real word, or they are stacking fees on top of fees daily before people can even muster up the money to pay the retrieval fee. How is that helpful to anyone, especially the pet? I don't see how this process is considered Humane in any way, shape, form, or fashion. If even one of those people down there had ANY common sense, they would realize that this was insane..and they are doing way more harm than good to all parties involved.Devyn Gordon’s dog Trixie escaped from her yard Saturday while the family was at the downtown Greensboro Christmas parade. A neighbor told Devyn that the dog had been taken to the Guilford County pound, so Devyn went there Saturday with her driver’s license and copies of Trixie’s current rabies records and tag, which are in Devyn’s name and current address.

The staff at the Guilford pound refused to release Trixie to her current owner, however. Unbeknownst to Devyn, Trixie has a microchip registered in the name of a previous owner. Trixie came to Devyn through a friend of Devyn’s brother. The friend had been planning to surrender Trixie back to the shelter where she had gotten her. “She gave her to my brother, who gave her to me, almost two years ago,” Devyn said in a comment on Facebook.

In addition to the rabies records, Devyn has 2 years of records for vet checkups and other vaccines, as well as photos and grooming receipts.

Pound staff told Devyn that they have the right to hold Trixie for 72 hours. If the woman whose name is on the chip (who lives in Fayetteville as far as Devyn knows) goes to the Guilford pound  and verifies that she transferred ownership to Devyn, then pound staff will allow Devyn to reclaim her dog after paying additional daily boarding fees on top of the $30 reclaim fee. If not, then after Trixie’s 72-hour hold is up, pound staff will allow Devyn to adopt her own dog at the full $95 adoption fee.

Devyn went back to the Guilford pound on Sunday as well, still trying to get her dog back. The pound staff told her that since the number associated with the microchip has been disconnected, they are putting Trixie up for adoption.

“They would rather euthanize a dog, or let some strange family adopt her, than give her to her rightful owner,” Devyn wrote in a Facebook post. “This is probably one of the dumb and stupid reasons that the shelters are so full, and pets are put to sleep daily..because either they have ridiculous protocol that doesn’t even make sense on paper, yet alone in the real world, or they are stacking fees on top of fees daily before people can even muster up the money to pay the retrieval fee. How is that helpful to anyone, especially the pet?”

Devyn plans to be back at the shelter first thing Monday morning to try to get her dog back.

The Guilford County pound can be reached at  (336) 297-5020. You can email director Marsha Williams at marsha@guilfordcountyanimalshelter.com. The Guilford County Manager’s office can be reached at (336) 641-3383. Contact information for the Guilford County Commissioners can be found here.

UPDATE 12/03/12: Trixie is back home with her family now! Devyn wrote this comment on a Facebook post:  

“I went back down to the shelter this morning, and they told me If I didn’t have an appointment I wouldn’t be able to see the director, and that they didn’t open until 12 anyway. I told them I would wait, and that’s what I did. I guess they got the picture I wasn’t leaving, and called her on the phone. She obviously has gotten calls, emails, and posts, because the first thing she said was ‘I’ve been getting emails, posts and such about your situation, and I want you to know we are not trying to keep your dog from you etc..’”

At 5 pm, after the hold was up, Devyn was able to reclaim Trixie by showing her vaccine records and paying $45, which included transferring the microchip registration. Devyn said she still plans to follow up with officials about the policies.

19 Comments

Filed under Guilford County, NC county/municipal pounds

19 responses to “Guilford County pound holds woman’s dog for ransom

  1. Devyn Gordon

    This shelter madness has got to stop.

  2. The dog should not have been left out in the yard like a piece of furniture wilst the family went to a social event. Period.

    The pet guardian has given her name, proof of ownership to the shelter. Correct?

    Has the pet guardian made a stink at the shelter big enough to draw attention that she will sue the county if they dare hurt her dog while they are refusing to give it back to her. The shelter stinks.

    It’s 6:38 am as I write this. The pet guardian should be sitting right now by the shelter front door, and pay a visit today to the county manager as soon as possible to ask for the written county policy that applies to her situation for proof that it exists? Verbal policy is bullshit.

    I don’t know what to say anymore.

    • Two of my dogs would love it if I let them stay outdoors to chase squirrels or lie in the grass while I’m not home. They love it out there, and sometimes it’s hard to get them to come in. The only reason I don’t let them stay out on gorgeous days like Saturday was is that I’m afraid they’d figure out how to get out of the yard.

  3. Margaret S.

    I agree with you, Lisa. Two of my dogs would love nothing more than to stay outside on a beautiful, warm day like Saturday, one of them (part Spitz) loves cold weather, too. I’m so weary of everyone jumping immediately on the blame-the-owner bandwagon. How about blaming her vet for never checking to see that her pet of two years had a microchip in the first place? That’s less ridiculous. Shelters have to start using common sense! They also need to put animals and people over policy if they ever want any respect.

    • There are two issues here. Yes, yes, the issue of the dog in the shelter is a result of the pet steward not being responsible with their pet.

      We are all victims of our own stupidity at times. And sometimes we are grand at doing life. Next time, the pet “steward” will remember to tie her shoelaces or she will fall over them. This is the same for me, too.

      We learn by error, not to say the situation has escalated, and now the pet “steward” will have to go through lots more pain and suffering.

      • Wow, in your opinion, is anyone good enough to own a dog? There is nothing irresponsible about leaving a pet in an enclosed yard for a few hours on a beautiful day.Those of us with fences have them so our dogs can enjoy the outdoors without having to be on a leash the whole time.

        Pets escape all sorts of ways, all the time, and one of the reasons people pay taxes for animal shelters to exist is so there is a safe place for them to go until their owners can reclaim them. Unfortunately, the reality is that shelters are NOT safe places, and they are often run and staffed by misanthropic people on a power trip who look for every opportunity to blame others for all the killing they do.

      • Lisa and other dog advocates on this post:

        Walk your dog on a leash. Take it for long walks in local parks provided by the state and county on a leash. Make sure your dog has a heartworm prevention test, receives heartworm once a month on the correct date of the month. Keep a calendar handy to mark off when your dog had its last heartworm and vaccinations. Bathe your dog as required and make sure to use a product like Verbac which does not wash away the flea medication you put on your dog. Ask Care First Hospital ( four locations in Raleigh about caring for your dog)

        You will not lose your dog, if you walk your dog on a leash, and make sure it does not get loose. Yes, accidents happen. I agree, but purposefully leaving the doggie door as the means of doing wee wee…well, then you pay the consequence if the dog gets out, lost, stray.

        I am not interested in the victimization here. The pet steward tried a method of bathroom keeping for the dog. The dog got out. The consequence will be an incentive not to perform this behavior again.

        I am not after shelters or victims. Do what you want. There is a consequence for every action Lisa. We all do our best. We are doing our best on earth. Its hard for all of us, including the victims and the humans that work in shelters as staff. Their hands are tied by idiotic policies that are often not revised, or even written.

        The whole situation is a mess. On a better note, I saved a dog from Granville County today because IT WAS THE VICTIM OF BEING A STRAY AT 8 YEARS OLD.. My dog will have a phenomenal life in Raleigh. Because I care enough. All my dogs live till 15 or longer and NEVER GET LOST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. miss28771

    Our society has a horrible habit of blaming the victim. In humble opinion leaving dogs in the yard is not the issue and when something goes wrong, the good old pointing the finger at the victim, has got to stop. The issue is the shelter not releasing a dog to it’s obvious owner where it is cared for. Is there not more important matters at hand for the shelter? What about finding homes for the ones that been in the shelter for longer than they need to be that are presently in the shelter? My dogs always have access to the outside when I am gone for periods of time. Not unreasonable to be able to do that…Best to you Devyn. Emailing the shelter director now.

    • Well, then if your dog has access to the outside when you are out, then if your dog gets out, you might lose your dog to a mishap, or a similar situation.

      Walk the dog on a leash. The shelters are full of tragic stray stories.

  5. I know right now the owner is probably focused on getting her pet back – which is understandable. But I hope that once the dog is safe at home, the owner will bring this to the county council and the state Dept of Ag. It’s outrageous.

  6. I emailed the shelter…. & I am praying for everyone involved. This is madness! =(

  7. Classic Rock

    people need to know how awful the shelters really are, the people who run them are lazy, incompetent, and evil its not about the animals at all its about pocketing more money

  8. miss28771

    Happy to hear that Trixie is at home. That was total over-kill. No pun intended.

  9. de la.

    Where did it say that she specifically “left the dog out like a piece of furniture?” The article simply stated Trixie escaped somehow. People will always try to bring others down!

  10. love4paws16@hotmail.com

    I feel the shelter was in a tough position here since the animal was chipped w/ someone else’s info. What if the dog was stolen (how’s the shelter supposed to trust how the friend of this girl’s brother got the dog?) or had escaped from a yard (since the animal did this time) and then picked up off the street? People lie all the time; is the shelter supposed to just believe every person that walks through the door? Then they’ll be criticized when they turn over someone’s animal to a person posing as the animal’s owner (it’s happened, that’s why they need proof). Since the dog had someone else’s info on its chip the shelter was put in the position of making sure the dog goes back to the correct owner. I have all of my animals microchipped and I like to think that if any of them somehow got out, even if they were gone for years and ended up living in a nice home, it would get back to me if scanned! Given that scenario, if circumstances arose that resulted in my lost animal being scanned (ie: got out and picked up and scanned by a shelter after living w/ some other household for years) and my info popped up, I hope the person doing the scanning would hold onto the animal and try to contact me before giving the dog back to whoever was claiming it. What if the previous owner in this story had been missing her dog for years? Would it have been fair for the dog not to have been returned to him/her? Would he/she not deserve the option of getting the animal back? That’s why the shelter was in the position it was in to not return the animal immediately. That doesn’t mean I agree the girl should have paid an “adoption fee”. A reclaim fee for the dog being picked up sounds fair, but I do agree with the hold to locate the owner that showed on the chip. That’s the purpose of the chip, and I would want to be notified if it had been my dog. The previous owner should have updated the information on the chip if she had voluntarily given up the dog to someone else and the new owner should have had her vet scan for a chip (even if she had sometimes it is difficult to get a read), and had her dog either chipped if it hadn’t been before or updated the info to her info if it had. Blame placing benefits no one, but learning from mistakes does. Hopefully the owner will update the info on the chip and will have any future dogs scanned for chips when she gets them. Also hopefully, the shelter will only make owners pay a reclaim fee for dogs at large, not an adoption fee in situations such as these. Likely, more understanding of both parties’ points of view could have diffused this situation.

    • Devyn had two years worth of vet records, grooming receipts and photos of the dog with her child. Holding the dog for the mandated hold limit is one thing, but the pound should never have told Devyn that the animal would be placed up for adoption and that she would have to “adopt” her own dog back. The situation could have been defused if the people at the pound had not been jerks to Devyn and treated her as if she had no rights whatsoever in regard to her dog, freaking her out and making her think that someone else was going to be able to adopt Trixie. The problem at a lot of pounds is that while the employees claim to love animals (how they can love them and kill them is beyond me, but whatever), they often hate people and treat them with suspicion and hostility. In other words, the pound staff could have defused the situation from the get-go, but they didn’t. Fortunately, Devyn’s quick thinking and use of social media got the proper results. Let’s hope the pound staff have learned their lesson.

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