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On September 12, 2014, we became aware of a seizure that took place by the Houston SPCA at the home of an individual who had adopted two dogs through our program years ago – Ballou and Annabelle. The adopter (a physician who had an excellent application and references and whose home was approved during home visits) had all of the animals on his property in Santa Fe confiscated. We immediately contacted the SPCA to get the dogs back based upon the terms of the adoption contract along with the fact that we remain listed on the microchip as an owner specifically for the reason that if one of our dogs ever ends up in a shelter, we can claim them. Very soon into the process, we were in fear as we learned that three animals had died during the seizure (see Craig Malisow’s article in the Houston Press). Five days after the seizure, the SPCA finally acknowledged having our two dogs. Legally, the dogs should have been returned to us immediately and again we provided the adoption contract and microchip documents to the SPCA, but the SPCA would not honor the proof of ownership.
We were extremely concerned for the welfare and well-being of these dogs, given that three other dogs had died. We were not given access to examine the dogs ourselves to see what condition they were in. At this point, we hired an attorney. We were not given clear reasons for not being allowed access, nor any reasons why the dogs could not be returned to us. Ultimately, the SPCA would not put anything in writing regarding the reasons the dogs were not being returned to us. We were also concerned about the SPCA’s euthanasia policy for any suspected pitbull or pitbull mix.
We were finally able to get Ballou and Annabelle from the SPCA on September 29th. This ordeal cost our organization more than $4700, which is a sad use of funds but we truly felt that they were in danger, particularly given that we had a limited period of time to appeal with the courts, so if we couldn’t get anything in writing from the SPCA as to their relinquishing the dogs to us, we could lose our opportunity to appeal to the courts. Having an attorney representing us seems to have been what finally worked and we are just so grateful to have them back. They are both with their original fosters and are doing well (Ballou is top left, Annabelle below).We appreciate your support and Craig’s diligence to delve into this particular case with the SPCA.