Am I overreacting? I'd like some imput, please.

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Am I overreacting? I'd like some imput, please.

Post by gbste on Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:53 pm

Sorry about the length here, but I'm dealing with a situation, and I'd appreciate any advice you folks might be able to offer.

As many of you know, I foster animals for a rescue group in my small town. Recently I fostered a dog, Myra, for over a year. Last December, Myra was transferred (over my objections) to the Colorado Department of Corrections for their "cell dogs" program. I let her go with the understanding that if she did not work out in the program, she would be returned to us. I stayed in touch with the woman who runs the program. In April, she called and emailed and asked if I would take Myra back. She said that Myra had been adopted by a single woman, and then returned to their program. Upon return, Myra was placed with an inexperienced trainer, and "scratched her with a tooth" during an altercation with another dog. Because of this, Myra was placed on a "bite incident report" and was no longer eligible for the DOC program. Two days before Myra was supposed to be returned, I was notified that she had been adopted by a single retired woman. I thought that this was strange, since DOC adoptions take a long time to process, but I thought that perhaps it was the same woman who had returned her earlier.

Last month, the woman who runs our rescue sent all the volunteers a long email about all the wonderful things that the DOC program has done for SCARF dogs. Among other things, she mentioned that Myra had been with the DOC program since December, and was being trained as a service dog. I was very concerned about this news. Although Myra would make an excellent service dog, this was not even close to what I had been told about Myra by the DOC. I emailed the woman who runs the DOC program, and asked to be notified of the time of the "graduation" ceremony that they hold for rescue dogs when they are turned over to their new owners. She told me that she would "definitely try to tell me if there is a ceremony." I found this response odd--either she'll tell me or she won't; either there's a ceremony or there isn't. When I emailed again a couple of weeks later, I was told that Myra had been transferred to "another agency." I asked our rescue leader to find out what really happened to Myra, as I have come to suspect that DOC may have killed Myra when the "bite incident" was reported. After a week, she gave me a fax that was sent to her by the DOC woman. In the fax, the story was that Myra was adopted and returned by a family w/ children after their vet told them that Myra was a pit bull mix. This adoption story is not the same as either of the 2 "adoptions" that I was told about, plus it was nearly word for word identical to a story that we were told by a guest speaker at the last "Adoption Options" conference I attended. She says that after Myra was returned, she was transferred to "another agency" for training as a service dog.

I have done some research about service dog agencies in Colorado. Only 2 agencies use rescue dogs in their programs. I emailed both of these agencies asking them if they might have Myra. One of the agencies replied right away. Myra is not in that program. The other hasn't returned my messages, but Myra is not listed on their website. I'm not sure what else I can do to find out what has happened to this dog. I obviously can't rely on the DOC rep to give me a straight story. Our rescue lead person considers the matter settled. I may still hear back from the 2nd service dog agency, but that is beginning to seem unlikely. Does anyone have any suggestions for what I can do to find out what has happened to Myra? I have a really bad feeling about this. I hope I am completely wrong and that Myra is happy as as a service dog, but I would like to know the truth one way or another.
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Re: Am I overreacting? I'd like some imput, please.

Post by jeanebellini on Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:42 pm

gawd i wish i could give some good advice here...i think you're doing all you can do short of getting an investigation service involved. i always thought that service animals were all registered or something in a special organization somewhere.
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Post by Suzzzz on Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:07 pm

I don't know what to tell you, but I certainly understand and share your distress! Finding the truth among this miasma of "service" organizations seems to be a terrible tangle. If Myra was too hastily put down, or otherwise lost, stolen or strayed, none of them are likely to admit it because they are protecting their programs and it would make them look bad. You can't even really rely on any reports of "Myra" .... your dog may have been given a new name anywhere she went.

Again, I don't know what to tell you. Your group leader, while she may seem heartless about this, knows what you already know, that there's not a lot you can do about it besides pray that Myra is well, either over the bridge, in a decent home, or in some program where she'll be happy and useful.

I'm so sorry, gbste.
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Post by Sue Short on Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:35 pm



I agree with Suzzz, I really don't have anything more to add. I'm so sorry about this.
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Post by Bob on Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:20 am

What a terible situation to be in. In the words of the X Files 'the truth is out there', but someone is not prepared to share it with you. It's the not knowing one way or the other that is so upsetting.
I think I'd be inclined to contact the woman who runs the programme at the Colorado Department of Corrections again and demand an answer to your enquiry. Just state that you would like to know if, because of the 'bite incident' Myra was sent over the bridge. Play the distressed card for all it is worth and tell her that you just need to know what has happened to Myra so you can get on with other things, but that you can't do that until you get a definitive answer about this matter, as it is always on your mind.
I hope all works out for you gbste, and that you can get some sort of closure on this.
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Post by fiffur on Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:54 pm

If it was me and I didn't get a straight answer from the DOC rep, I'd go over their heads to whoever is in charge of them, the head honcho and wouldn't stop until I knew for sure what happened to Myra. The royal runaround you're being given is giving me a very bad feeling in the pit of my stomach about what happened to her....
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Re: Am I overreacting? I'd like some imput, please.

Post by Sue Short on Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:25 pm



I would use Bob's approach. While going over the woman's head is a good idea, if you make
her mad she may never work with your rescue again. Which considering the circumstances might not
be a bad idea.
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Post by gbste on Sat Nov 05, 2011 7:23 pm

Thanks for all your replies. I still feel stuck here. The woman at DOC is the head of the dog training program, so I don't know if there is anyone above her in the organization to complain to. I really don't think that contacting her again over this would do any good. She's too adept at spinning a rosy tale at a moment's notice. As Kevin said, "I'm surprised she hasn't told us that Myra went to live on a farm with room to run and lots of other dogs to play with." I'm sure she'd tell yet another story that paints DOC in a shining light. She's switched stories before when all she would have to do to keep things straight would be to scroll down and read her own previous emails that were included in my replies.

I've told the woman who runs our rescue that I will no longer foster any dogs or puppies that will be transferred to other rescues. She wanted to know why I was still willing to foster cats that we transfer to Look What the Cat Brought In, a wonderful organization run by a loving, compassionate person. I told her that I know exactly where the kitties are going, and that I trust the person in charge to be truthful with me. She has taken lots of wild and sick kittens from us, and of course some of them did not make it, but she TOLD me that. She didn't spin some fairy story off the top of her head to make her organization look better.

Today I posted a picture of Myra on the Facebook page of the remaining service dog agency asking if anyone has seen her. If there's truth to the last story we got from DOC, then that will be where Myra is. Perhaps she's less likely to fabricate stories that go to the head of our rescue, but Fiffur is right. The fact that the stories keep changing give me a really bad feeling. The only reason I can think of for a person to prevaricate in this way would be to cover up something bad. On the up side, she may just be a pathological liar.
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Post by bpaquet on Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:53 pm

Well.... I'm a conniving *itch, but, I think having somebody else call the DOC about Myra might just catch the woman off guard. It isn't much of a scheme, but I really think that maybe if Myra were referred to by description rather than by name, maybe she wouldn't be so good at spinning the stories.

I'm sorry I don't have much advice either. I hope you hear good things, but it sure does sound suspicious.
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Post by Sue Short on Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:47 pm



I'm now with Becky. G, stick with the cats, do what your heart tells you. There is something so rotten
here it stinks to not only heaven but reeks in hell.
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Post by Bob on Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:04 am

Sue Short wrote:

I'm now with Becky. G, stick with the cats, do what your heart tells you. There is something so rotten
here it stinks to not only heaven but reeks in hell.

But that means that, while the cats and kittens are being cared for, the people at the DOC are getting away with doing whatever they like to the dogs. Something needs to be done. Is there a website I can go to to check them out?
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Post by bpaquet on Sun Nov 06, 2011 10:30 am

Since the DOC is a state agency, is there a way to get the Animal Welfare people to do an inspection of records? They probably can't release information to you, gbste, but an inspection would probably put them on notice that things should be in order all the time.

I can kind of understand an overreaction if Myra had bitten somebody. Biting dogs in state custody are a huge liability. But, I think the action should have been to return her as unfit for the chosen job rather than what you suspect. Shuffling a dog from agency to agency with no records is very suspicious. Did the rescue turn over ownership to the DOC? If not, I think the rescue has lots of rights. If the DOC had ownership...

I am hoping you can find out what happened to sweet Myra.
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Post by gbste on Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:53 am

When a dog is transferred, the new agency owns the dog. They really didn't have to tell us anything about any dog they have. No reply would actually have been better than lots of different stories, in my opinion.

The cell dogs website is at http://www.coloradoci.com/serviceproviders/puppy/index.html?companion

The dog "Rica" came from the Lamar dog pound.

Myra was at lots of petfairs and on Petfinder while we had her, so lots of people saw her and could conceivably be still interested in her.

Here's her picture.
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Post by ARNIgal on Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:11 pm

What an awful situation...keep us posted! Suspect
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Post by Sue Short on Sun Nov 06, 2011 9:51 pm



It is, but if a state agency is or actually any rescue/shelter group that is involved have to
account for the animals in their care.
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Post by fiffur on Mon Nov 07, 2011 1:03 pm

I wonder if the ASPCA could help here with getting the straight story on Myra? Or the Humane Society....
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Post by gbste on Mon Dec 05, 2011 6:39 pm

I FINALLY heard back from the 2nd Colorado service dog training place. They did, in fact, have Myra in their system. She didn't make it as a service dog, but she was adopted into a nice home. I am greatly relieved.
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Post by jeanebellini on Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:06 pm

did you just hear that sigh of relief? that was from me and the Rescue Kitties;)
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Post by BobCat on Mon Dec 05, 2011 7:52 pm

Thank goodness!
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Post by fluffnstuff on Mon Dec 05, 2011 8:26 pm

I'm glad that you finally got an response about Myra. I'm also glad she found a forever home. cheers
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Post by fiffur on Tue Dec 06, 2011 1:03 pm

Thank heavens we finally know what happened to Myra! I am very happy and relieved that she's in a loving home now. Any chance on getting an update from her new family?
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Post by gbste on Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:47 pm

I just saw Myra (renamed "Birdie") listed as "adoptable" on the service dog org's Petfinder page. Now I'm all PO'd again.
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Post by Sue Short on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:38 pm



Is this a recent add on or have they not updated their page. The other thing is there anyway you
can get Myra back. What a cock up. Mad
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Post by ARNIgal on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:49 pm

Lets all hope she's still around then...! confused affraid
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Post by gbste on Fri Jan 06, 2012 9:58 pm

I've exchanged emails w/ the rescue. Seems the family that adopted her wouldn't take her to the vet, so they had to take her back into the rescue. She's being well cared for, but she's living in a kennel, not a home, and she's been passed around from stranger to stranger for over a year now. I bet she would have found a home by now if she'd stayed with us, and if she didn't, she'd have been in one stable home instead of a series of prison cells and kennels.
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