Dog dispute upsets Cumberland County family
Posted February 11, 2015
Updated February 12, 2015
Cumberland County, N.C. — A Cumberland County family lost their beloved Golden Retriever Bobo, but now he lives with a new family.
Bobo belonged to Niki Davis and her daughters since he was a puppy.
The dog escaped from the home and ended up in the Cumberland County Animal Shelter where he was legally adopted by another family. Davis and her daughters made a video plea or Bobo’s return.
“I don’t understand them keeping him,” Davis told 5 On Your Side.
She didn’t find out the dog was in the shelter until the day after the adoption.
Dan Smith took Bobo to the shelter after he spotted the dog running toward a road.
"It was well mannered, he was trained and he smelled like he just had a bath," he said, adding he had no doubt this was someone’s pet.
Smith said the dog had a collar, but no tag.
The Cumberland County Animal Shelter, like many shelters, gives pet owners at least three business days to claim their lost pets. Including the weekend, Bobo was at the shelter for 5 days.
Davis says she searched for him in her neighborhood, sent emails and texts to neighbors and friends, and alerted the local fire department, but never thought to check the shelter.
Smith located Davis’s home the morning of the deadline. She had already left for work, but he left a business card on her door.
"I called the shelter and told them that I knew the owner, but they told me if the owner doesn't come down and you don't come down then whoever's on the list gets the dog," Smith said. "That's when I left to head down there and I got there two minutes after nine and they had already gave the dog to somebody else."
Smith said he explained the situation to the family at the shelter and shelter employees, but the adoption moved forward.
We talked with Cumberland County Animal Control Director, Dr. John Lauby. “At 9 o'clock on the morning that the animal is available for adoption, you have to be here at the shelter at the front door, ready to come in the door," Lauby told 5 On Your Side about the clearly posted policy, "If you're first on the list and you're here at 9 o'clock when the door opens, you get that animal."
Monica Laliberte asked once staff knew there was an owner involved, why weren’t things put on hold for a little bit?
Lauby said “in the past we've had those kind of statements made and people saying I'm bringing the owner in and then not show up, and then not be the actual person that owns the dog."
He added “it's a difficult situation figuring what the best process is for that, and we might need to look at our process."
They said Bobo had fleas and an ear infection when they adopted him.
Davis insists Bobo was in good health and well cared for. She sent a message and photos to the Eaton family through Facebook, but said she did not hear back. The Eatons also asked 5 On Your Side to not contact them "any further."
Dr. Lauby said this is an example of why pets should wear a tag or have a microchip with the owner’s contact information. “That dog would have been back to its owner the next day, said Lauby.
And advice for all pet owners, when a pet is lost, immediately check shelter websites for a list of steps to take to find them.
Davis now wishes she had done that. She and her daughters just want Bobo back.
In the plea video, Davis daughter Zeida holds back tears saying, "He was our first dog and we miss him so badly."