When a dog goes missing, it’s an emotional experience for everyone involved. Rebecca Jones and her family, who live in Nebraska, know that better than anyone. Their dog named Bella went missing for about three weeks, supposedly without tags or a microchip. So, the odds of Bella coming home seemed low, but the family kept searching.
Then, a miracle happened (or so they thought). The family spotted Bella at the Nebraska Humane Society only to find out that someone else had filled out adoption papers for her shortly before. Jones begged to get her dog back, but legally, the situation wasn’t that simple anymore.
Lost Dog Already Adopted
Jones had called the Nebraska Humane Society to tell them about her lost dog, and the humane society said they would try to call if they had a dog that looked like Bella. But unfortunately, like many shelters, this humane society is very busy and has tons of dogs to care for. So, without a microchip, it’s hard to determine if a dog is lost or not.
The state of Nebraska has a 72-hour rule that declares a found pet property of the humane society after that period is up. So, when Bella arrived at the Nebraska Humane Society and waited there for over three days, they had to put her up for adoption. They didn’t realize that Bella was Jones’ lost dog.
When Jones didn’t hear from anyone about Bella, she decided to visit the humane society herself. Sure enough, she saw Bella in one of the kennels, but a different family had already filled out adoption paperwork for her. Jones was devastated, but legally, there was nothing the humane society could do at that point without the new adopters’ permission.
“We could show them everything they needed, and they wouldn’t listen to us at all,” Jones said. “They didn’t say, ‘Walk up here every day; we may not be able to contact you.’ I would’ve done that.”
The New Family’s Decision
Unfortunately, there was a lot of miscommunication on both ends in this situation. But the humane society still wanted to do everything they could to reunite the dog with her family. So, they reached out to Bella’s new adopters to explain the situation.
Luckily, the new family was very understanding. Even though they quickly fell in love with Bella, they did the right thing and returned her to Jones. The adopters expressed interest in adopting a different dog since it didn’t work out with Bella.
“The new adopters were gracious and kind and while it was difficult, they agreed to relinquish the dog back to the shelter so the original owners could take the dog home. The dog was returned this afternoon. We are so grateful for the adoptive family’s compassion and empathy,” the Nebraska Humane Society wrote on Facebook. “We are sorry for the way the situation played out, but truly appreciate that the dog is back home and the adopting family is willing to open their doors to a new dog.”
It’s easy to be frustrated when hearing about this situation, but what’s most important is that Bella is back with her family. Losing a dog is a stressful event for a family and caring for dozens of dogs daily is stressful for shelters, so please don’t be judgmental of either party. Overall, this ended up being the best outcome, especially for Bella.
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