"Our family is whole again," said Shelby Wallace, while cradling the precious and precocious cat. She and her family wondered if they would ever see Mack again.
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Mack and his sister, Darcy, disappeared during the firestorm that burned two family homes to the ground. They recovered Darcy. Mack? No luck.
They lost and grieved for him until Shelby saw a picture from the Sonoma County Animal shelter.
Before the family could claim Mack, however, a local couple adopted him. New name? Phoenix.
"Devastating," said Shelby. The family put so much pressure on the shelter that it performed a DNA test, which proved 100 percent positive. Based on a Santa Rosa City ordinance, it provided the Wallace family an opportunity to petition for Mack, which they did.
"We thought that was the end of it," said Shelby. "We thought we were going to get our cat back."
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Only, Mack's new family steadfastly refused to give him up. "They had developed a bond with him," said Scott Alonso from the Sonoma Animal Shelter.
The Wallace family began looking for a lawyer.
"it was a good cause worth fighting for," said Shelby. "In a fire, you lose stuff. But this is family."
Reluctantly, Shelby and her mother went public in the local newspaper, on Facebook, and here on ABC7. Their quest for Mack went viral overnight. "People related because they want what's right to be done," Shelby told ABC7 on Thursday. "People wondered what would happen...America just wants something right to happen."
On Wednesday, Mack's new family surrendered him to the Sonoma County Animal Shelter. Shelby had Mack in her arms at 5:20 p.m.
"He knew immediately. The first person he ran to? His sister, Darcy." The two cats nuzzled and have been inseparable, ever since.
As to the couple that adopted Mack, then gave him up? Two days ago, Shelby called, them "heartless."
"We just want to thank them for doing the right thing. It was an emotional experience for them to give Mack away. We feel for them," she said.