Mother defends son for not returning found dog

September 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A San Francisco woman could hardly believe her good luck when her missing dog was found after seven years, but there's a twist in that luck. Police and a veterinary clinic gave her dog away to someone else.

A 22-year-old from South San Francisco named Kenneth Andrew Griffin has the dog. He claims he found the dog more than a month ago and on Friday morning ABC7 spoke with his mother.

Maritca Hernandez says her son found the small dog, but does not want to return it to the woman who claims to be the rightful owner.

"She was a member of my family and I don't have any children and she was my little girl," said Mary Bollero, the original owner of the dog.

Bollero says her dog "Little Girl" was stolen from her home in San Francisco seven years ago, but on the night of August 24, Kenneth Griffin brought the dog to an all night clinic and the vet scanned Little Girl for a microchip.

"And there was a chip, so we called the chip company and had them call the former owner," said clinic manager Noel Koeman.

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

She rushed down from San Francisco to the San Mateo clinic bringing her receipts the dog license, her receipts, the theft report from 2003, but it was too late.

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

The clinic manager says he was told by the San Mateo police to give the dog back to the people who brought it in.

"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.

San Mateo police confirm that was the advice they got from the Peninsula Humane Society. Scott Delucchi is the humane society's senior vice president.

"Again it's not a law, it's just what most shelters use as a rule of thumb," said Delucchi.

Based on that "rule of thumb" the clinic, with the blessing of the police, gave the dog to Griffin who left before Bollero could arrive with her documents.

"They know that the California law says that dogs are personal property, they know that there's been a stolen police report filed way back in 2003," said Bollero.

Bollero is frustrated.

When ABC7 said that the original owner would like to have to dog back, Hernandez said, "I know. Well, the police is the one that said... he owns the dog now."

Griffin's mother says she understands the difference between someone finding a dog and someone owning a dog, but she won't say where her son lives or how to reach him.

The San Mateo city attorney told ABC7 there is no finders keepers law in San Mateo, but they say it's a civil matter. Bollero is being told she has to go through the courts in order to get her dog back.


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