Financial frustration and red tape are keeping a Dauphin County family from picking up their lost dog from the Humane Society.
They say their own dog is too expensive, and the shelter says it’s too dangerous.
By many accounts, it shouldn’t be.
People are probably familiar with this scenario…
Your car gets towed, and if you can’t pick it up that day it goes into the impound lot. Each day it sits, it costs you more money to get it back.
The same theory apparently applies to dogs.
“We’re a non profit,” said Kelly Hitz with the Harrisburg Humane Society. “Our mission is to build a better community for pets and people. The need for these programs is here, but the space isn’t.”
The society’s capital campaign is still a long way off from it’s $2.8 million dollar goal.
$300 would help, specifically $314.50. That’s the amount it will cost a Halifax family to get its Brittany Spaniel “Harley” back from the Humane Society. Harley ran away in early June, and it’s been at the shelter for nearly an entire month. They could adopt the dog, like anyone else could, and that would cost about half as much, but it’s not eligible for adoption.
“When we did the temperament test, we found the animal has some rawhide aggression – meaning when you try to take the rawhide or other toys away from it, it shows some resource guarding issues,” said Hitz. “And because of that and the intensity that it shows with the resource guarding, we require that the animal doesn’t go to a home with young children.”
Except, the dog’s owner has two children, ages 5 and 3, who’ve been around Harley his whole life.
The woman at the other end of Stella’s leash questions the shelter’s reasoning. Amy Powell’s a certified dog trainer who used to work for the Humane Society. She tells CBS 21 News the society’s evaluations of dog behavior aren’t done by a veterinarian, or even a licensed behaviorist, but most likely a volunteer.
“It is unreasonable to be able to deny them an animal that has lived with them, that they purchased and are trying to be responsible… over an issue or a policy that would be implemented for when the dog is adopted out to strangers,” said Powell
“I can assure you our organization is not here to take advantage of people for money,” said Hitz
The Humane Society says it will not adopt out this family’s dog to anyone else, but they do say they require payment for housing this dog for the past month.
They say for anyone to prevent situations like this they need to call your local animal shelter as soon as your animal goes missing, and to think about getting your animal microchipped.