Dear Community Members,
A dog which we called Leif was adopted from our facility on December 9, 2019. He was adopted to a wonderful family that wanted to give Leif a loving home and they took the time to make sure he would be a good fit in their home. We approved the adoption and sent him to his new home. Our policy states that no animal can be adopted until it has had at least 10 days to be reclaimed. Please note that state law only requires a 5 day holding period. Additionally, many shelters also only adhere to a 5 day period. We committed to a 10 day period because we want to make sure that families missing their pet have ample time to search for them. Please know that when adopted, Leif was well past that 10 day period. Of course, 10 days does not sound like long time, but please understand that we also have to balance the need to move animals through the shelter quickly. We are not a holding facility for animals. The longer they stay here, the more likely it is that they will develop behavioral and medical problems. Our goal is to adopt animals into loving homes and not to hold them at the shelter. Again, we do not want to break up families, but we have to balance our responsibilities. We are heartbroken for the family that lost Leif. This is a tragic situation and something that is surely very difficult to endure. We are sincerely sorry.
At the same time, I ask that the community try to see things from another perspective. The adoptive family of Leif is innocent. I’m sure we can all agree that they did nothing wrong in this scenario. Some have questioned why I refused to contact them and let them know what happened. Although you may not agree with my decision, I’m sure you can accept this truth – informing them of this puts them in an impossible position. If they choose to keep the dog, they will feel guilty; if they choose to return the dog, they will be heartbroken. Even though they have only had the dog a few days, I assure you that they fell in love with him. I know that many of you can relate to that fact that once you adopt an animal, you’re in love and nothing can change that. In addition, I want future adopters to know that we will protect your rights. Once the animal is adopted, it is yours. No one can take the animal from you. We will never give out your information for anything short of a court order. We will protect you and your right to adopt a pet.
Obviously, the system for impounding animals and finding lost animals in our community is flawed. It is segmented between two pounds, our shelter, and concerned citizens. It is my dream that one day, our shelter can be the one-stop-shop for all the communities animal welfare related needs. I wish we just had one place to find lost pets and one number that you need to call. However, that takes planning and plenty of resources to make that happen. I will be talking with our partners about how we can make this system better, but we, at Great River Rescue, can’t do this without support. We need our community partners and supporters to come together to create a comprehensive solution. It is a community wide problem and requires a community wide solution.
As far as an immediate response, we will now post all animals taken in from the city and township pounds on the Bemidji Area Lost and Found Animals page. We will post a photo of the animal with the date of intake. We ask that our community help us by searching the lost and found pet postings and informing us if they see something that looks like a match. You can also notify the people who make the lost pet posts. We need your help to make these connections and we don’t have time to scour lost and found pet reports.
Next, we want to stress the importance of microchipping your pet. We scan every pet that comes to our shelter. If Leif had been chipped, he would be back in his original home. Therefore, from now until the end of the year we are offering $10 microchip insertion with a lifetime registration through the American Kennel Club (AKC). We encourage anyone who has not microchipped their pets to stop in the shelter before the end of the year and take advantage of this opportunity. If you can’t come up with $10, we will still find a way to get your pet chipped. All we ask is that you call us ahead of time at 751-7910 to make sure someone is available to insert the chip and help with the registration.
Thank you for listening and respecting our decisions in this case. I know that some will not agree with us, but I hope you will at least try to understand. Thank you for supporting our work. We can’t do this without you.