A Bellmead woman who lost her dog in November recently found out another family adopted her Old English Bulldog at the Waco Animal Shelter after it went missing.
Tracy Hendricks who named the dog “Jack Frost” said he went missing after her son’s birthday party on November 16.
The dog was not microchipped at the time.
"We had no idea where he went. We live in a busy street so we were scared he got run over. Somebody stole him,” said Hendricks.
According to Hendricks, the family searched the neighborhood and she visited the Waco Animal Shelter twice during the week of November 18th and once during the following week. However, she claims she was not shown all the cages in the reclaims area.
"I'm frustrated and angry that he was left here and even had to go through the trauma of being put with a new family and starting over and dealing with that,” said Hendricks.
City Spokesman Larry Holze said he could not speak about this specific situation but the city wants pets at the shelter to be at someone’s home.
"There is absolutely no reason in the world for us to not show every animal that is there,” said Holze."We would much rather have that dog reclaimed requiring that person to microchip rather than having to have it spay or nuttered and microchipped at the city's expense."
Under a current city ordinance, lost pets without a microchip must be reclaimed within 72 hours from the shelter. After that, the animals may be adopted or placed with a rescue group.
According to Holze, every dog that comes to the Waco Animal Shelter, leaves the shelter with a microchip and being spayed or neutered, under the city's ordinance. If owners reclaim it, they are responsible for those expenses. However, if the dog is adopted, the city along with other partners cover those expenses, as a way to encourage adoptions.
Recently, Hendricks said she found “Jack Frost” listed as missing on the Facebook group called Central Texas Lost and Found Pets. Soon after, she learned the pet had been adopted by another family while he was in the shelter in November.
"I'm feeling guilty now because I want my dog back but I also know some other family has had him since November and that they have gotten attached to him and that they love him. Now I'm not only hurting for my kids and my family but also hurting for that family too,” said Hendricks.
Hendricks has been at the animal shelter trying to get her dog back, showing them his registration. However, the staff said the information in the microchip indicates another family owns the pet.
"Pictures and things are helpful. The more the better. But the microchip is the best secret,” said Holze.
Animal Shelter staff has contacted the adopting family for them to get back the pet. The dog was taken to the shelter on Monday April 25.
"That dog has been microchipped and we've been trying to contact to no avail the current owner and we'll try to continue to do that within seven days,” said Holze.
The shelter will keep the pet for the family until next Monday. The shelter is unable to hold the pet longer due to the capacity at the shelter, according to Holze. If the family doesn't reclaim him, it will become adoptable on Tuesday.
Hendricks could adopt her former pet, if she is the first person to start the process when he becomes available.
The case, which Holze said it's uncommon, has a lesson.
"The best thing anybody can do in answer to this story is to get your dog microchipped and make sure the information tied to that microchip is current and up to date. So that when we get a dog, we can contact that person and get it back to his home. That's what we want,” said Holze.
He encourages those who have lost pets to check at the animal shelter every three days to see if they find it.
Hendricks said she regretted not pursuing the search for her dog longer and not microchipping it.
“My other dog is already microchipped. We had her longer and we had the opportunity of getting her microchipped. That's somebody I advise everyone to do,” said Hendricks.
According to Hendricks, she didn’t microchip Jack Frost because they were going through the process of adopting four children from Child Protective Services. The dog was boarded with a family member in Mart, which was were the family lived before, while the children got used to him. A week after they took him to their new Bellmead home where he went missing.
For information regarding Spay/ Neuter and Microchip requirements in the city of Waco click here.
Currently, the city of Waco is in the process of renovating the animal shelter with the goal of continuing being a 'no-kill' shelter and educating the community to lower the intake of animals at the shelter.
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