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Dognapping ends well, but illustrates continuing problem

Staff Report • Nov 3, 2012 at 9:00 AM

At this point in her career it’s probably safe to say that Debbie Dobbs, the director of the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter, has just about seen it all. It’s not an easy job. Dobbs and her staff often witness the worst in human nature. They’ve seen animals neglected, abandoned and even tortured. But even with all her years of experience on the job, there are still things that leave Dobbs exasperated. Dognapping is one.

Last week, two women were caught on video casually walking into the shelter and taking two female dogs.

“One was a tan and white Chihuahua mix named Masie,” Dobbs told Press staff writer Becky Campbell.

“The other was an older Yorkie with bad teeth.”

Shortly after putting out word of the dognapping, an anonymous tip helped authorities track down both the suspects and the purloined pups.

“One dog was found locked in the bathroom of Willow Springs Dog Park, and the other was found at one of the women’s homes. Both are safe and sound now,” read a post Friday on the animal shelter’s Facebook page.

There is no excuse for anyone to walk into an animal shelter and steal a dog when it is so easy and much more sensible to legally adopt an animal from the facility. That is why Dobbs and her staff do what they do. They are not just “dog catchers.” They are educators and advocates. It is the job of Dobbs and other shelter officials to see that animals in their care go to loving and responsible homes. Sticking a Yorkie inside a handbag and sneaking it out of the shelter doesn’t exactly fit the definition of a responsible pet owner.

The shelter is a temporary home to hundreds of lost, abandoned or neglected dogs and cats. Some are reunited with their owners, and others are adopted by new families.

Many, however, are not so fortunate.

You can help make the job of animal control officers easier by having your pets spayed or neutered. There are also volunteer opportunities at the shelter for those who are serious about the well being of animals. For more information about the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter, or to find out how you can help, visit www.tailchaser.org   or call the animal shelter at 926-8769.

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