Canine Rights

Long Island Shelter Refuses to Return Dog to Rightful Owner

A Long Island family is desperate to bring their beloved dog home, but the animal shelter that’s caring for her is refusing to return the dog to her rightful owner.

When Linda Osborne was sent to a rehabilitation center after being hospitalized for a diabetic condition, her 22-year old son Tim was left in charge of caring for her dog, a 5-year old Beagle-mix named Luna.

But, because Tim was leaving for Navy bootcamp, he couldn’t care for his mother’s beloved pup himself. “I contacted everyone in the family, all my friends,” he told News12. “I even got my friends to call their friends, but nobody could take her.” Left without options and told by doctors that his mom may never recover, he listed Luna on the online classifieds site, Craigslist. A man adopted Luna, but eventually surrendered her to a kill shelter without the Osborne family’s knowledge.

Freeport rescue organization Bobbi and the Strays rescued Luna from the shelter and renamed her Blue before listing her for adoption on their website.

Miraculously, Linda Osborne did recover and was able to return home where she learned her dog had been rehomed. Hoping to adopt again, she stumbled across a familiar dog on Bobbi and the Strays website.

“I saw her and I screamed for the boys. They had her as a neutered male, we’re like, ‘no, that’s her, we are going,’” she told CBSNew York. Luna was mis-labeled as a neutered male named Blue, but Linda immediately recognized her as the dog she raised from a puppy.

Linda says when they visited the shelter, Luna recognized them immediately, jumping all over them and giving kisses. To get her back, however, would require going through Bobbi and the Strays adoption process – and the shelter says the Osborne’s are not a good fit, refusing to let them adopt their own dog back.

“There is no way that family is getting their dog back,” the shelter said. “All of our decisions are made solely based on what is in the best interest for the animals.” After applying to adopt, three shelter staff visited the Osborne home to conduct a home visit where they determined the home and backyard are not a good fit. The family says they were also told they couldn’t get Luna back because they’d listed her on Craigslist, which is dangerous for pets.

Osborne admits her son should never have placed Luna up for adoption in the first place, but had no idea she would end up in a shelter. “Bad things can happen on Craigslist, but Timmy admits he made a horrible mistake,” she said.

The shelter continues to defend their decision, posting to Facebook:

“We would like to let everyone know that all the decisions we make in placing our rescued animals into a home are based on the best interest and well-being of the animals, including being placed in a safe environment. Our decisions would never be based on something as simple as a hole in a fence that can easily be repaired. As too this particular case, there were MULTIPLE issues of concern that were NOT mentioned in the News 12 story.”

The shelter did not provide additional details explaining their decision.

Now, the family are planning to get authorities involved in the hopes of getting their dog back. Police say the Osborne must file a stolen property report and prove that Luna is her dog before they can step in.

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