Monday, October 30, 2006

A Friend In Need

One of my most loyal readers/commenters has been MIA for a few weeks. I recieved this e-mail today, and thought I would share it with everyone in case anyone out there had any ideas for her. I myself have one dog, my parents have two and nine cats, my granparents have pets...we're a big bunch of pet lovers, so any ideas will be appreciated. Either leave them as a comment or send them to

This is her e-mail in it's original form:

Sorry I havent been checking your blog, my life has taken a dreadfull turn. As a dog lover, you may be able to help, if you want to. let me explain.... My border collie (AKA Doggy Daddy) Tucker jumped out of our fenced yard on 10/13, on 10/16 the Humane society adopted him outno less than 2 hours AFTER being notified by me of his MIA status. I am filing suit tomorow against them. They refuse to return my dog, who came in healthy, shiny/groomed and well cared for....they said he was "highly adoptable"...they are breed selecting, which isnt humane at all. I have begged, I've written letters, so have my children, trying desperately to appeal to the decency of the foster family, to no avail. My lawyer has had the misfortune of dealing with these folks, and by his own admission (the director of humane society) this was all one big mistake. one which no one there is willing to fix.

I'm asking for anyone who has loved a dog to write in to
and if you feel compelled to use your legal beagle stuff, my attorney is willing to look at whatever you may send him in reguards to this case. There is no legal precedent for this situation. so there are few guide lines for the judge.
if your interested, e-mail me, or IM me if u see me on. We also set up a an escrow account for Tucker's suit. I will put that info at the end of this note.


Tucker Fundc/o Eric Winter, Esq.Law offices
Roland & Schlegel 902
Reading, Pa. 19603-0902


Blogger M. said...

What an awful story, and I can't believe that organization isn't doing anything to right their wrong. What idiots. I wrote them a rather nasty e-mail already and I hope all your other readers do that same.

Good luck to Jo!

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Tracy said...

Thats so sad! I thought that the "humane" society had to hold animals for a certain amount of time to make sure they didn't have rabies or anything else dangerous?? I'd be on the phone with the news stations as well...perhaps the threat of that bad press cutting into their donations would help?

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was an issue like this that I read about after katrina. A families dog that had been identified was adopted as well. I know this case went to court as well. I found this link:

6:55 PM  
Blogger Shodan25 said...

Once again, Connie Willis was prescient (see Last of the Winnebagos). I wish I had som brilliant advice for Jo, but all I can do is wish that your lawyer's a real pit bull.

All the best,

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My thoughts are with u! I grew up in Reading, PA myself and I know from experience that people in that town will do stupid things like that all the time. My childhood dogs escaped from our backyard once and were caught by the police but luckily were only taken to the police station and not the pound. My mother thought it amusing to see 2 small dogs behind bars though. I'd continue with the suit the best u can, they can't just adopt out ur pet after u notified them, it's against policy. I'll send my good vibes towards u.

9:53 PM  
Blogger JTN said...

IMHO, here's what you need to do:
Call every television station in your area.
Especially call stations/newspapers that have a consumer advocate section (common in many markets).
Call every radio station that has a talk program. Many stations have an "open talk Friday" and call as many that will take your call about it.
Call every newspaper in your area, big and small(daily and weeklies) complaining about the Humane Society.
On the website you listed from that Humane society, they listed their upcoming events. Contact every event on the list, explain what they did to you and ask them to boycott the Humane society and not to assist them if they are going to treat animals this way.
Start up a petition in your area demanding a return of your animal, publicize it on television and radio and pressure them to do the same.
If the humane society advertises on radio, television and newspaper, inform the station you and you are telling everyone you know to boycott all products advertised by their paper/station.

Contact the Better Business Bureau in your area and file a complaint.

Locate on the shelter's website the person who is ultimately in charge of the decision/returning your animal and make sure every time you speak with the media you emphasize their name and their cruel actions to your family very. clearly. Responsibility is easy to ignore when it is a 'business' at fault. Personalize it and demand accountibility from that person.

Contact your city official that represents you for the city you live in (most cities have city counsels) and explain your situation and ask them to contact the Humane society. In addition, ask them to introduce a law in your city that prohibits this action.
Contact your state representative that represents you in your state legislature and ask their office to contact the Humane society and also to introduce a law in your state that prohbits this action.

Tell everyone you know who is upset by this situation in this area to contact all these places themselves as well.

If you really feel like playing nasty, you can also tell the media outlets the name of the family that adopted the dog and how they refuse to give him back though he was clearly not an abandoned animal.

I know this is long, but in summary, the best way to get your desired result is to put negative pressure on the Humane Society, shine a bright light on them, and keep it up by increasing as much local awareness as possible on the situation. If you are able to make them understand you will encourage people to never donate to them again for their practices, draw out a lawsuit, and keep them in the sportlight for this action for a long time, they will likely fix the situation quickly.

In some ways, adapt Alinsky's Rules for Radicals for the situation, and most groups that rely on goodwill and donations will not like the attention.

10:34 PM  
Blogger can'tthinkofagoodname said...

I seem to vagely recall other news stories on similar occurances. It makes the shelters look real bad and they should deal with it rather then go to court. Sure the adoptive family should get some compensation since they obviously spent some time and money while they took care of the dog.

I could see why the adoptive family would be hesistant to give back the animal after all they wouldn't have known it was actually someone else's. They would have expected the shelter to have done it's job in seeing if the dog had an owner.

11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with tracy. Get in touch with the news stations. They love local human interest stories, and the more people who can get behind your reader, the better. I sent an email to the humane society, just asking that they correct their mistake. Maybe it won't do anything, but hopefully, there's a solution.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure if this will help, but something similar happened in the San Francisco bay area in the last year or so. The issue was ultimately resolved by going public... the media loved the story (okay the crappy we'll run anything media but still) for the conflict and ultimately the family that had adopted the dog gave it back essentially out of shame... so both sue and try hitting the media

12:00 AM  
Blogger Thy said...

they didnt even give the owner time to look?!

i knowhow you might feel. I've had my dog since i was 4 [that makes 10 almost 11 years!] and if anyone took him away, i'd be devastated. once he ran away, but luckily we found him before anyoen else did!

i dont have the time now [exams!] but will write to the site ASAP!


1:05 AM  
Blogger WendyKat said...

i sent an email... and i have asked the few folks who read my blog to do the same.

please keep us all updated!

hope tucker gets to go home!

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ditto on the press. Some contact info -

Reading Eagle: (610) 371-5000 or

8:51 AM  
Blogger collegeblogger said...

As a volunteer for a branch of the humane society, I find it odd that a dog would be adopted out so quickly after being found. a 10 day "quarantine period" is required for every animal that comes in, just to ensure the health and good temperment of the animal. The humane society does good work, but only when they are run in an honest way. It sounds like someone wasn't doing their job, and 2 hours after notification is not enough time.

My neighbor had a situation where her ex-husband said he'd take care of her dog while she was on vacation. Then when she left, he turned around and sold the dog. Basically, she just called the police, and the officer was a dog lover himself, and threat of a lawsuit and bringing it to the media's attention was enough for the family that bought the dog to return her.

No jury would rule in favor of the humane society for these oversights...especially when a lot of the members of the jury will have dogs themselves. Best of luck to Tucker's family.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Gypsy_Jo said...

Thank you all for your responses and heartfelt wishes, and TY to waitress, for taking time I know she doesnt really have to spare. We filed a suit in common pleas today, against both the BCHS and John Doe (adoptive family) since the BCHS refuses to give the name, this will compell them to do so. but thay have 30 days to drag their feet, and they will, thats guarenteed. I talked to my lawyer about the the media blitze, which we have been mulling over at leanth. I dont want to give them ammunition to use against us. I think we will be going with a written statement, which will be dispersed via hand bills outside of the BCHS building on saturdays and sundays, and possibly the old sandwhich board with a short statement on pets being distributed without consent of owners. In PA, the shelters are only required to keep an animal for 48 hours, and very little is done to find the animals family, especially if they are "highly adoptable", like Tucker was. I do NOT live in reading, I live about 22 miles east of it. The SPCA is 8 miles from my home, I called there befor the BCHS, it was they that told me I should hire a lawyer.

I will send waitress the full details and chronology of events that have led to this nightmare. As I understand it, there have been websites made for Tucker on myspace and yahoo 360*, complete with photos and the story.

I am off now to inquire with channel 3 (philadelphia) about an investigative report, wish me luck and say a prayer to the doggy gods for Tuckers return, his wife & 3 puppies miss him almost as much as we do, maybe more :(
humane my ass... Karel Minor(exec. director of BCHS) and Damon March (director) have neither compassion nor humanity in this case.

thank you all, I cannot express myself in words to make my feelings fully known, so "thank you" will have to suffice.


9:58 AM  
Anonymous xogsmommy said...

i grew up in reading and had a bad experience with the humane society. with your lawyer's ok, go to every and all media outlets.

10:06 AM  
Blogger INNER VOICES said...

so sorry for your friend... awful people! how would that converstion go?
"um, hello you have my dog. we would like him back..."
"yeah, well he is our dog now.. we bought him and you cant have him back!"


how could some one do that to children even... they have a special place reserved for those people... good luck to them!

11:47 AM  
Blogger The Home Cook said...

As an animals lover and pet owner from waaaay back I find this whole story appalling! How could this possibly be legal? They STOLE that family's dog!!!

I wish I had some useful legal advice, but sadly I do not. I do, however, have some media advice (I'm a former journalist).

Have her call any and all local papers and TV stations. They will eat this kind of story up. If she has contact information for the foster family be sure to give that to the reporter so they can call the family for comment. Perhaps they can embarrass them into returning the dog.

I'm sure everyone in her community would LOVE to hear how the Humane Society, which is supposed to be protecting abused animals, is STEALING them from their loving owners instead. Be sure to have your friend offer to get the kids together with photos of their dog so the whole family can pose for a sad shot of them all holding pics of their stolen pet. The reporter will contact the Humane Society and this kind of bad press might help her get her pet back. I'm sure people will be loathe to don't money to an organization that steals animals from their rightful owners.

I hope this helps!! Please keep us posted!

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My prayers are with you! The media sounds like a great way to go.

I had a friend who sadly had to suddenly give up her dogs due to an apartment not allowing them a few years back. She took them to the shelter, adamant that they call her if they weren't adopted in X number of days and she'd find another situation for them.

She called them THE NEXT DAY happy to report that a friend of a friend had seen pictures and was on her way over to adopt the dogs.

She was then informed that the animals had already been put down, as they weren't in the category of "likely to be adopted" and they needed the space.

It's disgusting that things like this happen. . .

12:16 PM  
Blogger Wide Lawns Subservient Worker said...

No! There IS a legal precedent. I distinctly remember a long story in the New York Times about a girl who this happened to. She had a cat, and it was the same exact story. I will try to find it. This makes me so mad. Good luck getting your dog back.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous Gypsy_Jo said...

there are many cases in litigation NOW in several states pertaining to "Katrina dogs" (google that), although none have been decided on to my knowlage.

more later when I have ten minutes to sit and think of replies, Lawns, if you find that artical, please send it in ASAP, it might be a great help.

Thanks and ya'll.... this redneck jewish lady appreciates you beyond words.


2:52 PM  
Blogger Pixie said...

if you do a petition. make sure that it is on paper as email petitions are thrown out. make sure that peoples first and last names are included as well as a contact number of some sort.

3:27 PM  
Blogger 00goddess said...

How is it that she did not report her dog missing for three days?

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

00goddess said...
How is it that she did not report her dog missing for three days?

that is an interesting question. good thing you pointed that out, because it's a fact that doesn't seem to be present in later stories. she must have made a mistake...yeah, here. it definitely wasn't three days. no way. 'cause that would mean...jeez, it might be all her fault, then.

enjoy the ride!

9:50 PM  

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