ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – When someone finds a lost dog, the next step is to find its owner. One Albuquerque man did just that, but a parade of people tried to claim it.
“It was around the neighborhood because the dog had a leash on it, like a long leash like it was attached to somebody’s yard, jumped the fence,” said Dan Brockett.
Brockett found the full grown German Shepherd about a month ago. While Craigslist is an easy place to get the word out, he said he doesn’t always trust the people on it. That’s why he put up about 10 signs in his northeast Albuquerque neighborhood near Wyoming and Paseo del Norte.
“I posted up flyers in the neighborhood and just got tons and tons of calls and messages like, ‘Hey that’s my dog!’ or ‘Hey this guy stole that dog from me!’,” said Brockett. “Or, ‘Hey I knew that dog when it was a puppy, it’s mine.”
Each caller had their own story.
“Two different people said that he was stolen and then the breeder, the guy that said he bred the dog in the first place called,” said Brockett.
The stories also got stranger and stranger.
“There was another girl who sent me pictures of a completely different German Shepherd,” said Brokcett.
When it was all said in done, he said six people claimed the dog was theirs.
“Five people claimed it was there’s and then one person said he could get a hold of the owner if I gave him the dog,” said Brockett.
Eventually, the real owner came forward and had papers to prove it.
The City of Albuquerque said they’ve seen this happen before.
“People will mistakenly or intentionally try to claim a dog and get it returned to them,” said Paul Caster, Acting Director of Animal Welfare.
Caster said that’s why someone should always check for a microchip if they find a dog. And of course, microchip the dog in the first place.
“It gives them a permanent registry,” said Caster.
Pet owners in Albuquerque said the entire situation now has them on edge.
“I mean a dog to me is a family member so it would be the same as my son or daughter missing and people coming up and claiming that as their child you know,” said Mike Kirby.
“If you need a dog and want a dog that badly, go to the shelter and rescue a dog that needs a home,” said Liliana Rondon. “Don’t take somebody else’s dog that already has a home.”
“Oh I’d be horrified, I’d be actually heart struck because my dog is a part of my family,” said Arturo Olivas.
As for Brockett, who was just trying to help reunite a dog with its owner, he says he has different plans for the next pet he finds.
“Let the people at the vet deal with it and not myself, that would be the better idea,” said Brockett. “Lesson learned.”
Animal Welfare says never give a dog to someone if they don’t have 100 percent proof. They said if it’s not micro-chipped, a picture of them and the dog is always good.