Dogs & Laws

Shelter Refuses to Give Lost Dog Back to Owner

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A Schoharie County, New York woman is desperately trying to get her dog back home where he belongs after he went missing for several weeks only to turn up at a local shelter that refuses to return him.

Alysha VanDyke’s 13-year old Miniature Pinscher, Manson, slipped from his collar in mid-September and did not return home. Because of his age and health issues, after an exhaustive search, the family began to accept that perhaps he’d run away to die.

Because their searches had turned up nothing, there had been no reported sightings of the senior dog, and because he had not returned home, VanDyke was shocked, and excited, when a friend spotted a Facebook post about an adoptable dog that looked just like Manson.

“We were like, ‘Oh my God here he is!’ And we thought that this was the greatest ending and everyone would be happy. Only to find out that was not so,” VanDyke explained to CBS6 Albany.

The Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley are refusing to return Manson to VanDyke and New York State Police are siding with the shelter.

Police say the dog now legally belongs to the shelter because he wasn’t claimed during a 5-day hold at local animal control after he was found.

Additionally, the shelter are refusing to return the dog because he is not neutered.

“They said he wasn’t neutered so we weren’t taking care of him then. He was originally studded out. He was a breeding dog young so we decided to not have him neutered for health reasons,” VanDyke said.

VanDyke is now taking the issue to civil court in hopes of getting her beloved dog back.

“We just want our dog back. He’s old and he’s feeble and being at a shelter at this point is not in his best interest,” she explained.

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  1. Avatar Of Jennifer



    I was thinking the exact same thing. Just have a friend family adopt, duh! On the other hand, although I don’t agree with them not releasing the dog back to the owner, I can see why they would be annoyed that the dog was left unclaimed for an extended period of time, received expensive medical treatments after the allotted time bc they assumed they were on care of the dogs health now, and suddenly the owners show up expected the shelter to foot the bill. I’m sure they would not have given the dog treatments that were not medically necessary, they have no financial incentive since they were footing the bill in house for a presumed homeless dog so it would be in adoptable condition. Maybe the owners thankless attitude previews the attitude from the shelter to be sticklers about the owners paperwork and the amount of time he went unclaimed made them suspicious. I just believe that there are two sides to the story. They should release it to the owners but charge them the standard adoption fee. That seems fair to me. If the owners really “JUST want their dog back” as they claim they would offer to pay an adoption fee of have a friend adopt it to return to them, not take it to court for the poor dog to sit in a shelter even longer whether wrong or right.

  2. Avatar Of Jason Kurant

    Jason Kurant


    Also, who do they think they are telling the people that they had to treat their dog with this or that treatment? He is very old! I just decided not to treat my 15 year old cat and have her put down. There is nothing wrong with that. So the shelter did not need to spend huge amounts of money on that dog that they now want these people to pay. They do seem to be greedy and ready to substitute their judgement for everyone else’s.

  3. Avatar Of T Brown

    T Brown


    There are two sides to every story and the truth lies somewhere in between. Before passing judgment be sure to have all the facts. Both parties have made bad decisions.

    Below is the release that came from the Shelter.


    Standard Lost/Found Dog procedures are as follows:
    The Town Dog Control Officer will hold the dog for five days to wait to see if an owner will claim the dog. Occasionally when a DCO (dog control officer) picks up a dog, he will notify the Shelter so we can post it on our Facebook page as a found dog.
    If the dog hasn’t been claimed from DCO after five days, the DCO surrenders the dog to the Shelter.

    When a dog arrives at the Shelter, the standard intake includes a veterinary medical exam, treatments as outlined by veterinarian, vaccines, spay/neuter, and microchip
    In order to claim a dog from a Shelter, the owner must provide proof of ownership (vet records, dog license, rabies certificate).

    In Manson’s case, the DCO sent a photo and description to the Shelter when he was picked up. The Shelter staff posted his info on our Facebook page for ten days.
    He was surrendered to the Shelter by DCO after no one claimed him.

    When he arrived at the Shelter, he was given extensive medical treatment due to his poor health condition.
    Ten days passed without an inquiry about him and his health was improving, so he was posted for adoption.

    When a woman came to the Shelter to claim him, she was either unable to or refused to provide proof of ownership.
    At no time was she told she couldn’t have the dog, we simply requested the she come back with proper proof of ownership, as required by New York State Law.

    In order to claim this dog, we require proof of ownership and the dog must be licensed. Since the dog was in dire need of medical attention, she will also need to pay the veterinary bills and expenses associated with housing and caring for him.

  4. Avatar Of Dan Law

    Dan Law


    They have a lot of gall to call themselves a “shelter”. It seems they have set themselves up as some kind of court to judge the fitness of an owner. The shelter and the police should be ashamed of themselves. In any case, keep an eye on them. See if they might not try to breed him and sell the pups. I smell greed.

    • Avatar Of Michael Vaughn

      Michael Vaughn


      Absolutely true. My wife and i are having the issue in colorado.we surended our 11 yr old min pin because she was in a lot of pain and we did not have the money to help her AT THAT TIME, and veterinarians do not take payments. Two weeks later when we got paid we went to adopt her back. We were told we could not adopt here because we could afford to take care of her. I knew I would have to pay the adoption fee which was fine. I even offered to pay any vet bills, yet they still would not let us adopt her. Even though the papers my wife signed when she surrendered her said we could adopt her for the normal adoption fee. I guess unless you are a business, signed paper work does not mean #:<^.

  5. Avatar Of Melissa Coulson

    Melissa Coulson


    Sounds like the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley is a special kind of stupid!!!! The dog slipped his lead and he got lost. He was picked up and brought to a shelter. Yes, the shelter has a 5 day period to claim any animals found, I understand that. The people that owned him genuinely didn’t know of their missing dog where about’s, until a family friend showed them the picture posted on Facebook. They go to the shelter to bring him back to his loving home and they are left confused and shocked by the treatment they received.

    They were bullied, escorted off the property with out just cause and the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley refuses to release the dog, because it is not neutered. Stating that the dog is abused, because the family didn’t opt to have him altered. Many people opt not to spay or neuter due to health reasons, breeding or personal choice. That is up to the owner of the dog to decide, what they choose to do with their dog. It doesn’t mean that they love their dog any less or that they are abusing the animal in any way shape or form.

    I owned a stud dog for many years, he was micro-chipped and was feed holistic diet. My dog ate better than most people, I know and he wasn’t abused or mistreated. I find the whole thing absurd, given that many shelter’s these day’s are over run with abandoned and abused dogs. Unfortunately, many of the animals that wind up in shelters like these are put to sleep. Given the circumstances one would hope, that the shelter would have a heart and give the dog back to the family that loved him.

    Sadly, we have a family that wants their beloved pet back and they are getting the first class run around. I sincerely hope that this family gets their beloved pet back and shame on the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley for being so heartless.

  6. Avatar Of Deborah Merritt

    Deborah Merritt


    Have a friend adopt the dog. end of story..

    • Avatar Of Jason Kurant

      Jason Kurant


      Great idea! Just go around them! (Have a friend Adopt the dog! Then have your friend write a quick note transferring ownership to you, in case you ever have to prove it is your dog again!)

      • Avatar Of Andrew



        I’m having the same problem with P.A.W.S shelter in camden. Bella my beagle was taken there. Although I can prove she belongs to me she is up for adoption. I’ve had this dog for ten years.

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