ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque woman did what many people would do when she lost her pet. She put up fliers all over her neighborhood and alerted her local shelter. But it turns out, someone had already found it, and the shelter had already adopted out her pet.
“It’s heartbreaking for her to get home and see the empty cage,” Yessica Zamora told KRQE News 13. She’s been desperately trying to help her mom, Lilia Fernandez, find her beloved companion.
“We made flyers, and I put them all around,” Lilia said. Her ferret “Ginger,” got out of her house the Saturday before Easter.
Fernandez lives alone, and for more than a year, she said Ginger has helped her cope with depression.
“Since I live by myself, I like to talk with someone,” she told KRQE News 13. “I always thank God because he gave me a little creature that I can, you know interact with her.”
Fernandez reported Ginger missing to Albuquerque Animal Welfare right away. For weeks, she heard nothing.
Then, Thursday, a man saw her flyer and called saying he found Ginger. “Oh my God my heart was like pounding,” Fernandez recalled.
“And he said, ‘well I turned her in, I found her and I turned her in,’ and I was like to who?” Zamora recalled. She said the man told her he took Ginger to the east side Animal Welfare shelter the same night she went missing.
Fernandez went to the shelter in hopes Ginger would still be there, only to find out she was adopted by another family just last week.
Zamora said they quickly realized Animal Welfare had Ginger in their custody at the same time Fernandez called them to report Ginger missing.
The family is frustrated that the woman who took her report didn’t check to see if a ferret had been turned into Animal Welfare. “Because I trust them, you know I said well as soon as they have a lost ferret, they’re gonna call me,” Fernandez told KRQE News 13. “I left all my information there.”
“Some lady said, ‘well we get a lot of reports,’ that was her response, and I said, OK I understand, but how many ferret reports do you get?” Zamora said.
Fernandez is heartbroken. “She isn’t here you know, waiting for me,” she said, holding back tears.
She hopes Ginger’s new family might hear her story and give her back. She has a message for them. “If they really don’t want to give her back, just love her, take care of her, don’t let her out.”
Zamora said there’s no hard feelings against the family that adopted Ginger, but she can’t reach them since the shelter cannot provide the family’s information. Zamora wants them to know her mom dearly misses her companion.
“You know she’s not just a pet, she’s a family member and she’s really missed, and we didn’t neglect her, we didn’t let her out on purpose and we didn’t not look for her,” said Zamora. She said they’d refund the family’s adoption expense and help them find a new pet.
An Animal Welfare spokesperson said she was unable to reach employees involved in this case, since they’d left for the day.
Zamora said an Animal Welfare officer told them the employee who took their report didn’t follow procedure and will be written up. However, he added, they can’t force the new family to give Ginger back.