Do you have any idea how little there is to protect dog ownership rights? Do you know what steps to take to have the best chance to prove ownership of your dog?.
Many of us, including myself, felt that microchip equaled proof of ownership. That is not the case. In many states, there is no legal proof other than a removable county license tag on a collar. Without that collar, anyone can claim your dog. And as we all know, dogs are great at getting out of collars.
Several microchip companies have been called to verify their position. They state that they are a recovery service and the chip is NOT for proof of dog ownership. Splitting hairs semantically, but that is their position.
So WHY Microchip?
Because while not “legal” in the technical sense, it gives the owner another piece of documentation that along with other information could tip the scales in favor of an owner getting their dog back.
A change I strongly recommend is that when a dog is microchipped, the vet or breeder requires the registration be filled out at the time of implant. Have the vet’s staff or breeder register the dog for the owner. Or, at the very least educate the clients on the importance of this step to be done as soon as they return home.
Obviously this info will also be entered into your vet record. In addition, I would strongly recommend that any new dog brought to a vet practice be scanned to verify if there is a microchip or not and make sure that number isn’t registered to another party. Don’t assume anything.
Stolen dogs are being re-sold by "retail rescues" and individuals looking for a quick buck all the time.
IT IS CRUCIAL to add as many pieces of documentation to connect the owner and the dog. After much thought, the best way I can figure to connect the dog to owner is as follows:
Then there is a direct paper trail. So if your dog is lost, you have
Have a photo of you AND your dog in your files, on any vet client website, or in your vet hard copy file. Just having a photo of the dog alone isn’t as strong a position as if you are also there.
It is also imperative that owners realize they have merely DAYS to find their dog before it is up for grabs or sent to a rescue. DO NOT rely on sending out fliers and making telephone calls.
Many Animal Control people may mis-label your dog the wrong breed. So if you call asking if there were any black and white shelties turned in they may say “no” thinking that a sheltie was a border collie. TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED. Go look yourself.
Most of us, again me included, used to feel that rescues were angels walking the earth saving poor strays and unwanted dogs from death, finding good and loving homes and returning lost dogs to their grateful, rightful owners. This unfortunately, is no longer the case and the problem has grown significantly as we all went about our business, unaware of the change.
While I will state unequivocally, there are still some good rescues out there, many rescues are not. Some are outright animal rights extremists. Some are just out to make an easy buck. They have no problem trampling your dog ownership rights.
And somewhere in this soup of disgusting behavior are the few good rescues still trying desperately to make a difference. While these legitimate rescues may cry “foul” for the unjust stereotype, it is no more than serious hobby breeders have had to endure for years. So my empathy goes only so far in this situation.
Those that are truly ethical will step up their game and step up their documentation of their operations.
The point I am trying to make is that, just like people have screamed to check out a dog breeder before buying from them, you now need to take the same due diligence with rescues. Again I say, DO NOT ASSUME anything.
I implore you to look at rescues as individual entities that may or may not have a dog’s best interests at heart. I personally will no longer support the work a rescue is doing without first-hand knowledge of their operations. If you search the internet or talk to people who have tried to adopt, there is a new, less owner-friendly environment that is growing.
I have first-hand accounts of:
Those are just the more respectable rescues. Further down the ethical scale are those that:
In the news there was a rescue sending a truckload of dogs from Georgia up to Michigan rescues for re-homing. How many dogs in that truck could have owners still looking for them? How many dog owners would think to look in Michigan rescue websites for the dog they lost in Georgia? How many had microchips not scanned?
Paranoid? I think not.
How did I come to write this? Let’s look at the case now in the courts.
Veronica Covatch v. Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue:
Here are the particulars. I encourage you to do your own internet search.
To prove ownership of the dog, the breeder/owner supplied:
The rescue over time, gave a series of reasons why the dog would not be returned. The rescue's rationale:
What makes this all the more ludicrous is that according to the regulations in Ohio, the only thing the breeder /owner would have needed to claim her dog at the shelter was to be over the age of 18, have $40 plus $20 /night boarding fee, obtain a new license and a rabies shot before the dog leaves.
Negotiations failed and a court date was set for December 11, 2014.
The breeder has already placed a $10,000 bond to get the dog back while the case goes to court, but the “rescue” had the legal right to counter that with a $10,000 bond of her own, which she did, thereby keeping the dog in her possession. The rescue’s bond, unlike the breeder’s bond was obtained for $155 through a bondsman.
It is obvious that dog ownership is sadly in need of revision and clarification as to who has what rights, so both ethical rescues and dog owners know how to proceed when a dog is lost and found.
Until the laws change or the Animal Rights Terrorists rid the world of all domestic animals, you have a situation you need to look at. Do whatever you can to ensure proof of dog ownership now.
I truly hope you will deal with it now, before you realize that your dog isn’t “found”, isn’t “sheltered”, isn’t “rescued”, it’s just... plain... gone.