A dispute over the proper owner of a stray dog is new territory for the Pulaski Animal Center.
According to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, a deputy was called to PAC on Oct. 14 for a report that a Mastiff – recently booked from the Pulaski area – was not being given back to its owner.
Sheriff Jeff Richwine says the county’s animal control officer picked up the dog around 9 a.m. that day. According to a report of the incident, the animal was lacking energy and was said to be both thirsty and hungry. The animal control officers initially reported ticks on the animal’s fur.
Pulaski Animal Center Board Member Bill Roth says an examination of the dog showed several problems.
“The feet were rather tender, rather raw – which is indicative of malnutrition – and the animal had very little energy. Those were our immediate observations.”
“Jasmine,” as the mastiff is being called by volunteers at the animal center, was about 50 pounds under weight when she was located. A veterinary visit was scheduled, which according to Roth, the animal had heart worms and fleas.
According to the sheriff’s department, a call was received by dispatch later that day with someone claiming PAC would not return the dog to them. Right now, the animal center says they are focused on returning the animal to health before thinking about their next steps – which could take weeks.
Another layer is adding difficulty to PAC’s return/adoption process. Volunteers at the shelter say there are five different individuals claiming the dog as their property, not related to the adoption process. The animal center says its task after getting the dog back to a proper weight is identifying the true owner.
Roth says some of the comments he’s seen about the PAC on social media are disturbing.
“We are a non-profit, independent organization led strictly by volunteers trying to do the community a good service. We have a situation where right away, everybody wants to yell foul play.”
Those claiming to be the owner of “Jasmine” are alleging on social media that the animal center is not following proper policies and have selected a new home, some going so far as to suggest the law may have been broken. Among those claiming to be the owners are a brother and sister – who said online they were attempting to get the dog back to health themselves. Volunteers at the animal center say they have not adopted the animal to a new home.
Those on social media also suggest the Pulaski Animal Center wants to spay the dog prior to taking any future steps. Those working at the animal center say their goal is to limit over breeding of the animals in Pulaski County with spaying conducted prior to any adoption.
“Jasmine” is working her way back to health. The veterinarian that examined the dog was not immediately available for comment. Sheriff Richwine deferred questions regarding a possible animal cruelty case to the investigator, who was also not available for comment.
*Editor’s Note: Bill Roth, a board member at PAC, stated in interviews to WKVI that “Jasmine” displayed parasites during examination. The veterinarian, Dr. Rick Davis, who claims to have examined the dog called the News Department to say that claim is untrue.