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Long Island Animal Shelter Threatens To Put Dog Up For Adoption While Family Is Abroad

BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Long Island family says an animal shelter is trying to give away their beloved dog "Lucky."

As CBS2's Scott Rapoport reported, adorable 8-year-old Lucky, a King Charles Cavalier, is caught in the middle of a canine custody fight of sorts. One that could have him taken from his heartbroken owners Anthony and Michael Rivas, of Brentwood.

"I think it's horrible. It's very upsetting," said neighbor and friend Jo Ann Mort.

Mort said more than a week ago, Lucky's owners had to leave the country and tend to a terminally ill relative in Columbia.

She said they left Lucky in the care of a dog sitter, but shortly after Lucky somehow got loose, ran off and was picked up along a road and taken to Islip Animal Shelter and Adopt-a-Pet Center.

But instead of returning Lucky to the babysitter or friends of the family, the shelter said it was putting Lucky up for adoption, Rapoport reported.

"(The owners) are devastated. They want their dog back," said Mort.

Mort said Lucky's owners called the shelter and pleaded with them not to put him up for adoption and to release him to the babysitter or family friends, explaining they were out of the country.

The shelter released a statement on its Facebook page Monday, saying "Since the dog has no form of ID, no tags or microchip, their is no proof of ownership. Legally we have to put the dog up for adoption after being held for 5 days if no owner steps up."

This, despite admitting "We do know who the owner is, and that they are out of the country. They have been contacted and they have been made aware that the dog will be put up for adoption and placed with a good home."

Shortly after asking questions about the shelter's statement, CBS2 received a very different statement from the Town of Islip regarding Lucky.

"The Town of Islip Animal Shelter and Adopt-a-Pet Center is making every effort to return the dog to its owner in a safe and responsible manner," said Islip Town spokeswoman Patricia Kaloski.

According to the Islip Animal Shelter, to properly claim one's dog the owner needs to go to the shelter in person with photo ID and proof of ownership. The owner should also have veterinary information, medical records and family photos.

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