Found dog won't be returned to original owner

September 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
When Mary Bollero heard that her dog was found after seven years she was elated. A vet found the dog by scanning the animal for a micro chip, but before she could get to the vets office he gave the dog away.

"Little Girl was my little girl, she was part of the family," said Bollero.

She was crushed when her dog was stolen seven years ago and elated when just nine days ago she got a call in the middle of the night that her dog had been found.

"Your Little Girl has been found and you need to go pick her up at the emergency vet hospital," recalled Bollero.

Bollero rushed to the veterinary clinic where the dog had been scanned and a microchip found, but by the time she got there the dog was gone and given back to the couple that bought it in.

"They were still wanting to keep the dog and felt that it was their dog," said Noel Koeman, the emergency clinic manager.

The manager of the clinic says he called the Peninsula Humane Society and was told anyone who finds a dog and keeps it for 30 days without anybody claiming it, the dog is theirs.

"Again, it's not a law, it's just what most shelters use as a general rule of thumb," says Scott Delucchi fromt eh Peninsula Humane Society.

Koeman said he heard the same thing from the San Mateo Police.

"Because the people had the dog more than 30 days, under the law it was now their dog. It doesn't make sense to me, but I'm bound to oblige it," said Koeman.

So when Bollero got to the clinic with the dog's license and papers, the police report from seven years ago, none of that mattered.

"My dog had been given to the person that brought the dog in. I was absolutely horrified," said Bollero.

The veterinary clinic did put the Bollero on the phone with the young man who took her dog.

"He said I found your dog. I love your dog and I'm not giving your dog back," said Bollero.

When asked why the clinic didn't just wait until the woman got there with the documents to prove that the dog was hers, Koeman replied, "Well again we were following the instructions we were given."

When Koeman was asked what about common sense in this case, he replied, "Well common sense is one thing, the law is another."

The watch commander at the San Mateo Police Department said he was not on duty when this happened, but he has never heard of a 30-day finders keepers law.

ABC7 tried to speak with the South San Francisco man who has the dog, but the clinic could give out his information or give his information to Bollero. For any information, the manager said Bollero would have to get a subpoena.


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