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Family Fights To Get Dog Back After Local Shelter Allegedly Gives It Away

By Anita Oh

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- When what's lost becomes found, it should be cause for celebration. But Vickie Remolde of Roxborough is worried her dog may have gotten into the wrong hands.

"I'm worried sick about my dog. I want him to come home. If he doesn't come home, I don't want this to ever happen to anybody else," Remolde said.

Remolde claims the Animal Care & Control Team in Philadelphia violated a 48-hour hold policy by allowing someone else to take Jake from the shelter, immediately after someone dropped him off. But ACCT says their 48-hour hold policy only applies after a dog has been surrendered to their care, which they say did not happen in this case.

Jake went missing from Remolde's yard on Tibben Street on July 13.

Later that evening, Chris Ferraro says he found Jake near his doorstep about a half mile away on Silverwood Street Manayunk.

He says he took the dog to ACCT and filed a report with the shelter and provided his contact information. That's when he says another man in the lobby approached workers about taking care of the dog until the owners came forward.

"It was a complete and total joke," Ferraro said. "As a dog owner myself, it gives me great concern that God forbid if I ever lost my dog, it'd just be given to some random person off the street."

"I put my trust in them and they have the guys info and were in the process of taking down this info, I assumed everything would work out all right. Obviously that's not what happened," Ferraro added.

ACCT also told Eyewitness News they tried to reach the man who may have taken Jake, using the phone number and address he provided but have not yet been able to do so.

"[They] told me they to this home and the gentleman who answered the door was not the gentleman in the lobby," Remolde said.

In a statement to Eyewitness News, the ACCT said:

"The dog that we believe to be Jake was never relinquished into ACCT Philly's care. An individual who found a dog that matched Jake's description brought the dog to ACCT Philly on July 13th, but before filing a lost report, passed the dog to another person, and left. We do not know why the original finder chose to do this, and we do not condone this kind of interaction between members of the public, but do not have the authority to restrict it. The second individual, who now has the dog that matches Jake's description, provided identification and completed a found animal report, which is in line with ACCT Philly policy and procedure. 

When an owner that matched the description and circumstances of the dog on this report came forward, ACCT Philly reached out to the individual who filed the lost report in order to reunite the family. Attempts at contact over the phone and in person have proven unsuccessful, but we are continuing to do everything in our power to reunite Jake and his family. 

48 hour stray holds begin when a dog is taken into our facility. We do not have ownership of animals that have not been formally relinquished into our care and are unable to seize or force them to be turned over."

Remolde is offering a $500 reward for anyone who has information on Jake.

"I hope the person who took him sees this and comes forward, or drop him off, no questions asked. Just please return my dog."

Anyone with information can contact the Animal Care & Control Team at (267) 385-3800.

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