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October 04, 2011 8:43 am

EDITORIAL: Lessons to be learned from lost dog conflict

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Any family who has lost a pet knows the heartache that follows as you search and hope for its safe return home.

In a sad and aggravating situation that unfolded recently, that heartache deepened when a lost dog was found — but not returned.

The situation, while quite unusual, poses some lessons for the community.

Fourteen-year-old “Gizmo,” who belonged to Pat Miller of Powell and her family, went missing on Aug. 21. A few days later, an area resident found the lost dog and brought her to the City of Powell/Moyer Animal Shelter, where she stayed for seven days. On the eighth day, Gizmo was adopted to a new home.

More than a week after she was adopted, the Powell Tribune printed her picture as a dog available at the shelter, not knowing she had already gone to a new home.

That photo prompted Pat Miller to contact the shelter, but the joy that came from finding her dog soon dissipated when she learned the new owner refused to return Gizmo.

Shelter workers attempted to get the dog back to the Miller family, offering the new owner his money back and the opportunity to choose another dog of his choice. Unfortunately, he declined.

While the adoptive owners went about getting a new pet in all the right ways, their refusal to return an old dog to its longtime home is both puzzling and frustrating.

The animal shelter followed all of its normal procedures in this situation. They held the dog for seven days, as per policy, and publicly advertised her multiple times. For residents who are missing a pet, it’s important to look through those “Lost and Found” ads.

The Tribune only publishes photos of animals on our Digest page as we have space available — which means many animals may go through the shelter, but their photos never end up on Page 6. However, dog and cat photos often are featured in the Tribune’s Plus section and on the website www.petfinder.com.

Speaking of pictures, if your pet is missing, it’s important to have a photograph to show the animal shelter so they know exactly what your animal looks like. Due to some misunderstandings, shelter workers didn’t realize the found dog actually was Gizmo.

The no-kill shelter houses an average of eight to 10 dogs and 25 or so cats, and volunteers and employees at the shelter work tirelessly to care for the animals and ensure many missing pets are returned home.

“We want nothing more than for animals to be returned to their owners,” said Elfriede Milburn, a longtime volunteer at the shelter and president of Caring for Powell Animals.

The sad story of Gizmo came about after a series of unfortunate events. We hope the new owner does the right thing by returning the old dog to her original home — and that a situation like this isn’t repeated in the future.

3 comments

  • Comment Link October 06, 2011 10:05 am posted by Brenda Mattson

    It's deplorable that this family refuses to teach their kids right from wrong in this instance. Adopting a pet is a wonderful thing to teach. Keeping a dog that has a rightful owner who had searched and searched for the dog is, as I stated before, deplorable. Not to mention the fact that with an older dog, their kids will suffer the loss of that dog much sooner than if they'd adopt a younger pet. And, might I ask, WHY isn't the name of this family being published? Pat's not afraid to have her name in the paper. If they've nothing to be ashamed of, why not speak their side of things? Why hide?

  • Comment Link October 06, 2011 3:03 pm posted by Tessa Schweigert, Powell Tribune

    Hi Brenda,

    Just wanted to help answer your question: The shelter has not publicly released the name of the family who adopted the dog. I talked to Pat Miller earlier this week, and she said she doesn't know his name. All I know is that he is a Cody resident, based on information from the Cody Police Department's report.

  • Comment Link October 20, 2011 9:31 pm posted by sherry

    You know nothing of the family that adopted Gizmo. Their privacy has not been respected throught this ordeal and comments in this newspaper is on the grounds of slander. Honestly if you are not personaly involved out of respect stay out of it but yet respect has been given to the adopted family that has not put letters or comments in the papers.

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