Some dogs have a knack for slipping collars and jumping fences, for bolting out open doors and seeking adventure beyond the property line. Even the most cautious pet owners can experience the anguish that comes with losing their pups — thankfully there are many good Samaritans and rescues in place to help find and return those wayward pets.
But it was not so for the Morones family and their dog, Squeaky.
Squeaky, who has gotten loose two times prior, managed to wiggle her way out of her collar and set out into the wide world on Jan. 28, according to the Lockhart Post-Register.
The pup was microchipped, but the information linked to the chip was old. Marissa Morones says she updated the information the day after Squeaky went missing.
Most shelters have a stray hold of some sort before a pet is available to be adopted by a new owner, and Lockhart Animal Shelter’s policy was that “Any licensed impounded cat or dog shall be kept for not fewer than seven days unless sooner reclaimed by their owner, except under quarantine.”
The family called the shelter several times to see if a dog with Squeaky’s description had been brought in. They were repeatedly told that the dog was not there.
“We made several phone calls regarding Squeaky,” Morones explained. “They just kept telling us, no, she wasn’t there. They even tried to sway us into believing she was dead.”
But apparently Squeaky had been there — and according to one of Morones’ posts, three days after being brought in, Squeaky was sent to a rescue group based in Austin, where she was adopted by someone. The city has admitted they broke their own protocol and made a mistake.
“Our animal control officers made multiple attempts to try to reach this person but were unsuccessful, so, when the dog got adopted, the microchip got reinstated to the new pet owner,” Sean Kelley, the City of Lockhart Public Works Director, said.
“The employee should have double-checked that the wait time wasn’t held correctly. It was a mishap on our part.”
But the city also can’t force the new owner to give up Squeaky. Morones has reached out to the woman who allegedly adopted the dog.
“To the lady who adopted out Squeaky, we miss our baby,” Morones posted on Feb. 26. “We have cried, begged, pleaded for Squeaky back. We treated her wonderful here. She loves us and we love her. Our hearts have been shattered and torn into pieces, and as I’m writing this status tears are flowing from my eyes.
“Squeaky is my daughter’s best friend, she is my son’s protector, and she’s my baby. I hate this battle we are going through and I [don’t] want money for her. I just simply want our furbaby back. I will pay you for the adoption fee and any expenses you have spent on her but I am begging for her return.
“We treated her like family. She was happy here and I’m sure she is also happy there, but her family was with us. Please reconsider sending her home. Please.”
In an update, Morones explained that the adopter declined their request, so they would be pursuing legal action to try to bring Squeaky home.
“The adopter has heard our story and is still unwilling to return her,” she wrote. “So again this is why I’m raising funds to get a great lawyer to bring Squeaky home with her real family.”
The loss has taken a toll on the whole family. Morones’ daughter understandably misses her dog, and Morones says that being unable to bring Squeaky back “makes [her] feel like a failure as mom.”
“We just really want something like this to never happen to anybody,” she concluded.
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