Action Alert – Proposed Bill Will Hurt Lost Pets in Wisconsin

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A bill has been introduced into the  Wisconsin State Legislature that seeks to reduce the required stray hold for found animals from the current seven days to only four days.  The main intent of this bill (Assembly Bill 487 and the Senate companion bill  SB450) is to improve the outcome for seized dogs (often called Court Case dogs)  in Wisconsin, which of course is a very good thing!  Unfortunately, Wisconsin Humane Society and the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) who helped draft  the bill have also included a paragraph that reduces the stray hold for all animals (dogs AND cats).

Our concerns:

  1. A discussion on stray hold for lost pets has absolutely nothing to do with legislation concerning Court Case Dogs. They are entirely separate issues.
  2. There are many dysfunctional portions of Wisconsin’s current lost pet and animal control systems including:
  • There is no centralized database being used by shelters in Wisconsin for reporting lost and found pets.  (There is a database available, free to use, but stray holding facilities are not making use of it). Stray holding facilities can include large shelters, vet clinics, boarding kennels, police departments, town offices, individual contractors who may hold the dogs in their garage on their property.  These facilities do not cross-communicate making it very difficult for an owner to locate their lost pet.  Unlike car keys, that usually stay where you lose them – dogs and cats can easily wander and cross jurisdictional borders  ending up in a stray holding facility many miles from where they went missing.
  • Many Wisconsin stray holding facilities do not post photos of found animals on line, which requires  the owner to visit the facility in person to check. This is often time consuming and costly, and many owners do not even know all of the places they should check. Many dogs do not end up in shelters until they have been missing for a few weeks or a few months.  It becomes logistically and financially impossible for an owner to keep checking in person every place that their lost pet may end up.
  • Some Wisconsin stray holding facilities have outdated microchip scanners or no microchip scanners at all.
  • Many Wisconsin stray holding facilities do not proactively look for owners of missing pets by doing things such as: tracing deadend microchips, posting signs where lost pets were picked up, posting photos online and on Facebook, and searching Craigslist and other lost pet listings.
  • Many Wisconsin stray holding facilities do not have extended hours to make it convenient for owners that may work long hours or two jobs to pick up their lost pet in the required time.
  • Many Wisconsin stray holding facilities have exhorbitant fees and fines to reclaim a lost pet. Owners often need a few more days  to come up with the money to reclaim their pet. It is not uncommon for reclaim fees to be in excess of $200.
  • Many Wisconsin stray holding facilities have not embraced the changing demographics of our state and do not offer bilingual assistance to owners who have lost their pets.
  • Many Wisconsin stray holding facilities do not take into consideration barriers that prevent people from reclaiming their pets – including lack of transportation, lack of cell phone or internet service and owners with mental or phsyical disabilities.
  • Many Good Samaritans that pick up a lost dog on a roadway may be passing through the area and take the dog to a shelter at their destination rather than taking it to the correct stray holding facility where the dog was found. The owner may be checking local shelters but their dog was never taken to the local shelter. Good Samaritans take dogs to shelters that they know or like, not necessarily the “correct” shelter.
  • Right now, it is too easy for a stray holding facility to proclaim that “the owner wasn’t looking for their pet” and put it down or adopt it out immediately after the stray hold period has lapsed, instead of proactively being part of the solution.
  • Wisconsin shelters and rescues are not required to submit intake and euthanasia data to the Department of Agriculture (as is required in Illinois, Michigan and many other states). Government oversight and transparency are needed to make sure that stray animals are not needlessly being put down in our shelters. Tax dollars pay for animal control and stray holding facilities are compensated with those tax dollars to care for lost pets.

Until these items are addressed, we cannot support a reduced stray hold period in Wisconsin. We support legislating minimum standards that stray holding facilities need to take to proactively reunite lost pets with their families.

We are asking each and everyone of you, our Facebook fans, to contact your state legislators and ask them to NOT co-author or support AB487/SB450  until the portion concerning the reduction in stray hold is removed.

Find out who your state legislators are by clicking here and entering your address.   Your Wisconsin State Senator and Representative’s contact information will pop up.

Here is a link to the text of the bill: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/proposals/ab487

Here is a link to the fiscal estimate: http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/2015/related/fe/ab487

Here is an important excerpt from the fiscal estimate:   “This bill would reduce the amount of time abandoned or stray animals would have to be held in order to be claimed by their owners from 7 days to 4. Any cost savings to local government related to eliminating 3 days of custody of a stray animal are indeterminate. It is unknown how many local governments would choose to euthanize or release a stray animal after 4 days as these entities may hold stray animals as long as they choose. However, if a local government chooses to euthanize or release a stray animal after the 4 day waiting period, there may be additional costs related to owner interactions including phone calls, emails, and visits by distraught animal owners whose pet went missing and was euthanized or given away after only 4 days.”

Thank you! Together we can help more lost pets get home safely!

 

Additional reading:

AKC: Bill Making Reclaiming of Pets More Difficult to Be Considered

Animal Legal Resources: Find Fido Fast or Lose

Tails and Truths: Tails: If you are considering giving your time or money, think small and local…

No Kill Learning: Proposed Legislation in Wisconsin Could Shred Safety Net for Homeless Pets

Wisconsin Watchdog: Putting the Cart Before the Horse

Nathan Winograd: Best Friends Drops the Ball in Wisconsin

No Kill Nation: Caught in a Hole, Best Friends Keeps Digging

Wisconsin Voters for Companion Animals: David Mangold’s Testimony for Wisconsin Senate Bill 450

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How Are We Doing? Year to Date December 2015

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LDOW Opposes the reduction of the state stray hold!

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Yesterday was the Committee hearing on AB487 at the  State Capitol.  We wanted to share the testimonies that were read and also brought forth to the committee for their review.   Lost Dogs of Wisconsin believes in preserving the human/animal bond. We are the only state organization that does this. This bond can only be preserved by keeping the stray hold the same while trying to implement new processes for a good Return to Owner system for lost pets in the state of Wisconsin.

Statement from Susan Taney

Good afternoon, my name is Susan Taney. I have been in the animal welfare sector for over 25 years from managing /working in shelters to running individual rescues. However, today I bring a rather unique perspective, as I have been helping coordinate the reunions of lost and found dogs for the last 6 years. I am the co-founder of Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and Lost Dogs of America and the founder of Lost Dogs Illinois.

Through this experience, I have found out what works and what doesn’t. Based on that experience I have come to the overwhelming conclusion that the general public does not know what to do when they lose their loved family member or when the public finds a lost pet.

This SHOULD be a major concern for municipal shelters as these families with lost pets are not only to be considered clients of the facility, but they are also the taxpayers who are paying for the shelter’s services. If finding their lost family member takes time and the shelter is not allowing that time, the shelter is doing a great injustice to both the client and the taxpayer.

I would like to bring to your attention to a recent set of guidelines put forth by the ASPCA regarding what they consider to be the minimum standards that shelters and stray holding facilities should be doing to help reunite lost pets in shelters. Many states have adopted these practices by law. At this point Wisconsin has not yet adopted any of these practices.

Examples are (just to name a few):

  1. Shelters must check for ID, including microchips, tattoos, etc., at the time of intake.
  2. Shelters must serve notice to identified owners of stray animals, and the hold times for stray animals must account for mail delivery.
  3. Shelters must provide public notice, appropriate to the community, of stray animals entering the shelter.
  4. Shelters should be authorized and encouraged to reduce or waive redemption fees.

Most Wisconsin shelters and stray holding facilities do not meet these minimum standards recommended by the ASPCA.  We lack the basic framework for a good Return to Owner system for lost pets.  AND now Wisconsin wants to lessen the time owners have to find their pets.

Proponents for the bill have suggested that other national cities that are achieving a 90% or better live release rate are doing so because they have a shortened stray hold.  In fact, there is no correlation between short stray holds and save rates. You can find plenty of shelters with short stray holds and horrific kill rates.  And again, without any standardized reporting in Wisconsin by animal shelters to our Department of Agriculture, it is very difficult to do any analysis of the data.

In the last 20-30 years, the status of animals has been elevated from the barnyard to the bedroom.  They are now loved family members. It is time to change our mindsets and fix the system. Please amend AB487 to remove the portion that reduces the stray hold from 7 days to 4 days in order for every loved family member to go home. Lessening the stray hold period only manages to get the pets out of the shelter sooner; it does NOT effectively promote getting the pets back to their families. We believe implementing new processes while retaining the 7 day stray hold will be far more effective.

Thank you for time and consideration.

Statement from Rob Goddard

I am writing to you about my concerns regarding bill AB487.  I am the developer and operator of a National Database for Lost & Found Pets.  My concern regarding the bill is the reduction in the stray hold time from 7 days to 4 days. The issue regarding court case dogs is entirely different and both issues should be addressed separately.

Through my experience in working with many groups and shelters regarding strays, there are three main issues that I want to raise that are affected by the reduction in hold time.

1.    Currently, when a pet goes missing in a populated area, the animal could be taken in at many different shelters. When shelters do not provide photos and other information about their intakes online, it makes it extremely difficult for the owner to visit each shelter, every vet clinic, search websites, Facebook pages, newspaper ads and also physically search for their pet.  Often times, their pet is found within just a few days, but other pets take longer to find.

2.    Pet owners away on vacation that have left their pet with a pet sitter or a boarding facility, may not even be aware their pet has gotten out and is missing.  The extra few days makes a big difference.

3.    Often times people finding pets are not notifying shelters or surrendering the pet to the local shelter as they fear for the pets safety.  Reducing the stray hold time will not improve this situation.

Once a National Database is in place where every lost and found pet is listed and everyone knows where to look to see if their pet has been found and is at a shelter, then reducing the stray hold time then reducing the stray hold time then may make sense.  But not at this time.

Please amend AB487 to remove the portion that reduces the stray hold from 7 days to 4 days. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Statement from Karen Smith Burns

I am writing to you about my concerns regarding bill AB487.

In October of 2013, one of my cats, Lily, became frightened by window repairmen and escaped through one of the windows. I left food and water out for her, but didn’t see her. I decided to check the abandoned house where I had found her a couple of years before. She was there, but wouldn’t come to me, so I left food and water for her. I repeated this process a couple of times. After not seeing her for a couple of days, I started checking the MADACC website for female cats. I did not see her. After about a week, I decided to look at all of the pictures of cats on the website. At that time, I thought that Lily had a microchip. (I later found that I had somehow missed getting her microchipped along with my other pets). I found her under the category of undetermined gender. Although it was a few minutes after the shelter closed, I called MADACC’s number. Thankfully, someone answered and said I could see the cat in the morning. I also e-mailed a couple of friends who worked at MADACC to try to ensure that no mistakes were made and she was not going to be killed before I got there. (She was a “fraidy cat” and not too cooperative with the staff). I went to MADACC the following morning. Lily was very glad to see me. She cooperated with staff to get her immunizations updated and get a microchip.

Due to my job and other problems, I was perhaps not as aggressive in my hunt for Lily as I should have been. However, I think that work and other concerns might cause other pet owners to need more time than 3 or 4 days to locate a lost pet.”

I am very thankful that the shelter had to keep Lily for a week before she was scheduled to be killed. She is in the room with me now and is doing just fine.

Statement from Kay Frederick
I could not disagree more with the “logic” put forth by Spiros and Petrowski. Nor, as I have learned, do the many fine small rescue groups in the state.

As someone who lost a pet, I can attest to needing the longer time period. First, we were on vacation when our dog disappeared (not uncommon as I have learned), so it was three days before I could begin looking for my girl. Next, she disappeared from East Troy farm area, so I had a minimum of three shelters to check. The Racine County shelter is located at the east end of the county, adding to my distress. One major issue, of which I was unaware so you may be also, is that giving shelters a verbal description of your pet gives you a false sense of security. I received calls, only to find that the animal was nowhere close to matching a description of my Annie. This meant that I had to visit these sites and make a visual check of animals that had been brought in.

I’m really distressed that the authors would once again pull that “taxpayer money” language since owners are charged a hefty amount when, and if, they retrieve their beloved pet, as is an adoptive family. So that’s just political jargon meant to perk the ears of the uninformed!

If they, or you, truly wish to reduce the amount of time a lost animal is in shelter, you will require all rescue facilities to post a digital image of pets after a 48 hour period. This is of no cost to them and would be of huge benefit to both lost animals and their families. You would also require all pet owners to have microchips implanted. These are measures that would actually help return an animal to its family.

Lastly, to say that a reduced hold is of benefit to the animal is, frankly, absurd. Yes, being in the rescue facility would be traumatizing. But to think that being taken from there by anyone other than their family members would not just be another trauma, shows a lack of caring and understanding. As a person who has done rescue work, I have seen these poor animals go through these times of being passed off to a loving home. To them, all they understand is that it is not family.

Statement from Kat Albrecht

On behalf of the members and supporters of Missing Pet Partnership, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reuniting lost companion animals with their owner/guardians, I wanted to comment on the proposed legislation of Assembly Bill 487 and the Senate companion bill SB450.

It is my understanding that the State of Wisconsin is considering reducing the stray hold requirements on impounded dogs and cats in Wisconsin animal shelters from 7 days down to just a 4 day hold. Although I am sure this has been proposed for the purpose of lifting a “burden” from taxes by saving them money, I can assure you that a reduction in stray holding times as proposed will only create more burdens on your tax payers due to the permanent displacement of loved companion animals. It is difficult enough for tax payers to recover their missing pets as it is, and forcing them to know how and where to search for their missing pet in such a restricted time frame only reduces the chance that lost dogs and cats will be returned home.

Instead of decreasing the hold times, Wisconsin shelters should consider maintaining their 7 day hold time and adopting innovative lost and found programs which include making certain that they are following the position statements outlined by the ASPCA which include that “Shelters must establish a reasonable process for matching stray animals admitted to the shelter with reports of lost pets received by the shelter from owners.” Sadly, most animal shelters are simply not taking the time to cross reference lost pet reports with the animals held in their cages. Instead, shelters are passively waiting for the owner of the stray animals to show up at their facility and when no one shows up, this is blamed on “uncaring” owners and the focus of the shelter is to rehome the animal. In reality, when dogs and cats escape from their families it causes conflict and chaos in the life of the pet owner. The majority of families return home from work only to discover their pet escaped from their home (Day 1 of holding period at the shelter). They may drive around their neighborhood, but they are not able to go to their local animal shelter since by the time they find out where it is, the shelter is closed. They do what they can that night (on line perhaps) but the next day, they must go to work (Day 2). Sometimes they are able to get permission to take the following day (Day 3) off of work, but more than likely they will have to wait until the weekend before they will have the time and ability to drive down to the local shelter. If your stray holding periods are reduced from 7 days down to 3 or even 4 days, people whose dogs and cats go missing on Monday will likely be adopted out to new families (or euthanized) by the time the pet owner can get there (Saturday).

Instead of reducing stray holding times, Missing Pet Partnership encourages animal shelters to instead adopt innovative lost pet recovery programs, to educate their staff and volunteers in how to counsel the public in lost pet recovery techniques, and to partner with on-line lost pet recovery sites like Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, Lost Dogs of America, and HelpingLostPets.com. Shelters that have taken these proactive, progressive steps to increasing lost pet reunifications have seen remarkable increases in their RTO (“return to owner”) rates and a decrease in the numbers of animals that they must take in. Through training provided by Missing Pet Partnership, one shelter in Lynwood, Washington increased their RTO to 27% (the national RTO rate on dogs is only 16%) while another shelter in Boston quadrupled their RTO on lost cats. Recently I co-presented a national webinar hosted by The Humane Society of the United States called, “Five Steps Shelters Can Take to Increase Cat Reclaims.” This webinar is available for free online for anyone, including Wisconsin animal shelter staff and volunteers to learn more about preventing lost cats from ending up in shelters in the first place. The webinar can be found here: http://www.animalsheltering.org/trainings/keeping-cats-homes-5-steps-shelters-can-take-increase-cat-reclaims

An increase in education and adopting cutting edge lost pet recovery programs, rather than reducing the stray hold times, is what is needed to help more animals. The proposed reduction from 7 days to 4 days will dramatically decrease the percentage of pet owners in the state of Wisconsin who are able to recover their lost pets.

 

 

 

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Annie, Lost While Owners Were Away, Illustrates Why a Four Day Stray Hold is Insufficient

Annie

The following testimony has been prepared by Annie’s owner for the Public Hearing on AB487 on Wednesday, January 13 at 1:30 p.m.  This bill has been introduced into the  Wisconsin State Legislature and seeks to reduce the required stray hold for found animals from the current seven days to only four days.  The main intent of this bill (Assembly Bill 487 and the Senate companion bill  SB450) is to improve the outcome for seized dogs (often called Court Case dogs)  in Wisconsin, which of course is a very good thing!  Unfortunately, Wisconsin Humane Society and the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) who helped draft  the bill have also included a paragraph that reduces the stray hold for all lost pets(dogs AND cats).

I could not disagree more with the “logic” put forth by Spiros and Petrowski. Nor, as I have learned, do the many fine small rescue groups in the state.

As someone who lost a pet, I can attest to needing the longer time period. First, we were on vacation when our dog disappeared (not uncommon as I have learned), so it was three days before I could begin looking for my girl. Next, she disappeared from East Troy farm area, so I had a minimum of three shelters to check. The Racine County shelter is located at the east end of the county, adding to my distress. One major issue, of which I was unaware so you may be also, is that giving shelters a verbal description of your pet gives you a false sense of security. I received calls, only to find that the animal was nowhere close to matching a description of my Annie. This meant that I had to visit these sites and make a visual check of animals that had been brought in.

I’m really distressed that the authors would once again pull that “taxpayer money” language since owners are charged a hefty amount when, and if, they retrieve their beloved pet, as is an adoptive family. So that’s just political jargon meant to perk the ears of the uninformed!

If they, or you, truly wish to reduce the amount of time a lost animal is in shelter, you will require all rescue facilities to post a digital image of pets after a 48 hour period. This is of no cost to them and would be of huge benefit to both lost animals and their families. You would also require all pet owners to have microchips implanted. These are measures that would actually help return an animal to its family.

Lastly, to say that a reduced hold is of benefit to the animal is, frankly, absurd. Yes, being in the rescue facility would be traumatizing. But to think that being taken from there by anyone other than their family members would not just be another trauma, shows a lack of caring and understanding. As a person who has done rescue work, I have seen these poor animals go through these times of being passed off to a loving home. To them, all they understand is that it is not family.

Respectfully
Kay Frederick

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New Microchip Guide from Petlink Helps Quickly Identify Microchip Brand

microchip guide 2016

Microchips are a wonderful tool in lost pet recovery, resulting in thousands of successful reunions each year.  But since many microchip companies compete in the same marketplace, it can be difficult to quickly identify the microchip brand.

  • If you do have internet access, a useful tool is the AAHA Microchip Look up tool.
  • If you don’t have internet access, keep this  microchip guide from Petlink nearby.  It shows the unique identifying format of the top microchip companies with the corresponding toll-free number to call.

Print and keep this guide handy with your scanner so that you can quickly get a lost pet back to his/her family.

The reverse side shows the Keys to Effect Scanning.  Follow these directions to make sure you don’t miss a microchip!

Thank you to Petlink for this handy guide to help more lost pets get home!

Here is the pdf file of the guide:  PetLink Microchip Guide_New_2016

Posted in Uncategorized

Where Could My Lost Dog Be?

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As the year draws to a close we are going to ask you to click on this link and to look through our 2015 Lost Dogs Album one more time. Although we have had an incredibly successful year (over 2500 reunions so far) we have many dogs that we are still searching for.

Where are they? In this blog post we’ll take a wild stab at our best guess (based on what we have learned over the last five years).

A small percentage of the still missing dogs are probably sadly deceased. BUT, we do know that a body is usually found and we encourage all owners to not give up unless they have confirmed physical evidence that their dog is deceased.  By far and away, our largest single cause of death is dogs that have been hit by a car (usually when they are being called or chased by well-meaning but misinformed citizens who do not know that you should never chase or call a scared lost dog). Our next most common cause of death is being hit by a train. Scared lost dogs will use the path of least resistance, and railroad tracks often provide a convenient route of travel between their hiding places and food sources. Unfortunately, some dogs are killed when the train comes, but again, a body is almost always found.  Our third most common cause of death is drowning; either by falling through thin ice, or by making a poor decision and bolting towards a body of water.  Lost dogs that are not being chased, approached or pressured  will make wise decisions and may survive indefinitely.  Dogs that are being pressured or pursued will make poor decisions and may meet an untimely end.

Many people fear that their dog has been eaten or killed by coyotes. We do not find this to be common and very few of our deceased dogs have evidence of being killed by a predator.  Is it impossible? No. But dog/coyote altercations are almost always territorial (the dog is defending his yard or his territory) and scared, lost dogs are not territorial. They will defer to a larger predator.  Lost dogs simply want to survive – so they need to do three things – they will hide from predators (including man) and they will spend their time sleeping and travelling between their food sources and hiding places.   If a dog is killed by a larger predator – the body will usually be found. Predators do not tend to eat other predators and all members of the canine family are predators.

Where are the other still missing dogs? Some are still “out there” as described above. Scared and living in “survival mode”, these dogs may be rarely seen because they have become so adept at hiding and may be mostly nocturnal.  Eventually they will  start to hang around one or more reliable food sources (often a farm that is leaving food out for outdoor cats).  If they are left alone they will become more domesticated and may be seen during daylight hours or even attempting to play with neighborhood dogs or farm dogs.  This is why it is SO important to continue to flyer in an ever-increasing radius of where your dog went missing from. Somebody, somewhere WILL see your dog and they need to know who to call when they do.

Some of our still missing dogs wandered far beyond their “jurisdiction”, out of the flyered area,  and end up in the maze of animal sheltering and animal control. They may have been adopted to a new family or put down when their 7 day stray hold was up. These are a heartbreaker for us because the simple act of posting pictures on line of impounded found dogs would bring most of these dogs home.  Using the FREE centralized database at Helping Lost Pets would also help pull all of the lost and found listings into one place.  Our dedicated volunteers and fans scour the internet watching for possible matches but they cannot do this when there are no pictures available. Many Wisconsin shelters still do not reliably post pictures of impounded found dogs. Please ask them to do so. It is perhaps the simplest way to save lives and free up shelter space for those dogs that truly need it.

The last component (and probably the largest) are lost dogs that have been picked up by a Good Samaritan who meant well but then kept or rehomed the dog without searching for the owner.  Of course, this is illegal in Wisconsin, but it happens all too frequently. The current “rescue” phenomenom that is sweeping our country has kind -hearted people making false assumptions about the owners of a dog they find. They speculate that the dog has been abused, neglected or “dumped” and needs a new home. We have great success  when we can get the finder to file a report with us so that we can post a flyer online.  This serves to dispel the false notion that people that have lost their dog don’t deserve him/her back.  We ask all of our fans to please spread the word to their friends, family and neighbors – Lost dogs don’t need a new home.  They just need to go home. Do not assume that you can keep a dog that you find. He/she is somebody else’s personal property and keeping him/her is illegal.

Thank you for helping us. Please take a few moments, scroll through our lost and found albums, and maybe, just maybe we can help reunite a few more of these dogs in 2015.

 

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How Are We Doing? Year to Date November 2015

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How Are We Doing? Year to Date October 2015

October 2015 LDOW stats

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Trubble, Missing For Three Months, is Safely Captured!

Trubble ReunitedAfter nearly THREE MONTHS on her own, fending for herself, Trubble is home!
Trubble went missing on July 27th, 2015 from the owner’s friends house while being dog sat. She was seen for a week-ish at Fernau’s Greenhouse grounds (lots of fields next to it, etc) not too far from the owner’s friends house where she went missing. After that she wasn’t being seen anymore.. so the owner and the LDoW Caseworker, Libby Koerner, were kind of at a loss with what to do from there.

Libby, the LDoW Caseworker, got a message from a friend of hers, Grace on October 4th, 2015 about a stray dog wandering around their apartment complex (Jackson Farm Apartments) for a few weeks – which is about 3-4 miles away from where she went missing. After seeing a photo of Trubble, Grace thought there was a good chance it was her. Libby went out to canvass the area, and figure out a spot to set the trail camera for a feeding station.

On October 7th, Libby went up on the hill to set things up (feeding station).. and accidentally spooked her but got to look at her face and VERIFIED that it was Trubble. Then Libby and the owner started with that.. coming out around the same time every day, once a day, and checking the cam/food.

There were days the owner would go out, but wasn’t successful in anything because Trubble never got CLOSE enough to her to be able to recognize that it was her owner. Libby got a message in the beginning of this week (10/12) from Grace that Trubble had been following Jordan (Grace’s boyfriend) when he walks Jax (their dog). And seemed to have an interest in Jax. Every day, Trubble got closer and closer to them while they were walking. And the other day, Jordan decided to let Jax and Trubble sniff noses and the two started to play. Trubble also started following them closer the the apartment door after the walks every day too. Libby got a call Wednesday (10/14) that Jax and Trubble were playing on the hill, and Jordan was with them and Trubble wasn’t bolting, so Libby went out there and took Jax up there to see if she could get her. Again she didn’t bolt at all, but she would move JUST out of reach when Libby would try to leash or loop leash her. Jordan tried going up on the hill again, with Jax, and Libby this time. The two dogs were tired.. so Libby just tossed ham towards Trubble and got her to come her way.. and eventually ate out of Libby’s hand. And then when Trubble was done – she just walked away and laid down – still in view though. Jordan and Libby figured They should leave it on a good note.

The next day, 10/15, Libby just went to fill the food bowl, and Trubble came out from the other side of the hill and so she tossed her a plain hamburger from McDonald’s and left.
The next day – October 16th – another person who lives in the apartment complex that Libby (LDoW Caseworker) knows, Christine, texted Libby saying Trubble was outside Jordan’s apartment whining. Jordan sat with Jax in his apartment, with his front door open and Trubble would only come within a couple feet from the door. Trubble’s owner was already going to come that day to try to use Jax to get Trubble close to her so she could recognize her FINALLY.

Libby got a call from Christine (Jordan’s neighbor) who said that Jordan was able to get a looped leash around Trubble’s head and had her leashed. Trubble went to sniff/play with Jax, and Jordan was able to loop the leash over her head in perfect timing. So Libby RUSHED over there and sure enough there she was. The owner was already on her way, so Libby called her and let her know she was coming to take her dog home rather than try to capture her!

This reunion was TRULY a team effort – thank you to Grace and Jordan for not only using your efforts, but feeling comfortable enough to use your dog as a ‘magnet’ to gain Trubble’s trust. Thank you to Christine for keeping Libby, the LDoW Caseworker, up to date on information and offering food. Thank you to the ENTIRE Jackson Farm Apartments community for leaving Trubble alone as instructed. And last but not least, thank you to Libby, the LDoW Caseworker, for being there every step of the way to help and guide not only the owner but the public as well – and also for keeping up with feeding Trubble on the days the owner wasn’t able to make it out. Without everyone’s efforts, Trubble would not be home today. The owner would like to thank EVERYONE so very much for being a part in getting Trubble home. Trubble was, after THREE MONTHS, finally able to sleep in a nice, warm bed last night. NEVER GIVE UP! (Lost 07-27-15, Reunited 10-16-15)

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Finders Keepers – NOT!

16789750919_443bc9c64a_oThe other day I was walking along the sidewalk in downtown Milwaukee and I saw a bicycle leaning against a building. It was a bit sad looking – it’s paint was faded and chipped, it’s tires looked like they needed some air, and the seat had seen better days. Poor thing. I glanced around for an owner but saw no one. It had been abandoned. I decided to take it home and give it some love. I was going to give it the life it deserved! I was going to be a hero! I was going to be a bicycle rescuer! What a wonderful thing I was doing. I would be able to tell the story for years to come to my friends and family about the poor neglected, abandoned bicycle that I had saved.

I hope you see where I’m going with this. Of course I wouldn’t take the bicycle. That’s called STEALING. Bicycles are property. Cars are property. A wallet is property. Dogs are property. Why do people think that it is somehow okay to keep a dog that they have found?

We very seldom have dogs intentionally stolen (premeditated theft) in Wisconsin. But lately we have had several cases of lost dogs that have been picked up and kept by well-intentioned, but misinformed Good Samaritans. These are lost dogs who may have owners who are desperately looking for them. This is illegal. Let me say it again. Dogs are property. We have a very clear law that states how lost property must be handled in Wisconsin and how you must make every effort to find and return the property to its owner. The details are spelled out and I encourage you to read them.

As we work through these cases with Lost Dogs of Wisconsin we smile and delicately and diplomatically negotiate the return of these dogs (if we know where they are). But behind the scenes – my head is about to explode with the words “GET YOUR OWN DAMN DOG”. It isn’t like there’s not enough dogs in our shelters and rescues that need a good home.

I have two shy, sensitive dogs. They’re also very physically fit. They would only have to be lost a couple of days and I’m sure they would appear underfed and abused – cowering and thin. Would someone find them and assume I was a horrible owner and didn’t deserve them back? Would they keep them and call themselves heroes – not even trying to reunite them with me?

In the big picture – this is one of the reasons that I am really happy that dogs ARE property. This protects my rights as their owner. The law is on my side if my dogs are lost. Good Samaritans take note. We appreciate that you get the lost dog safely off the street and to a warm, dry place. If you feel that a dog is neglected or abused, contact a humane officer or police officer in your community. But do not think that you are doing anybody any favors by keeping a dog that is not legally yours.

Kathy Pobloskie, Lost Dogs of Wisconsin

(reprinted with permission from www.wisconsinwatchdog.blogspot.com)

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