Family’s lost dog picked up by animal control, but adopted out before reunion

HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — It’s an unfortunate situation, anyway you look at it. A Virginia family’s dog got loose, it was picked up by animal control, brought to an animal shelter and then adopted out before the owners could get her back. 

LaDonna Davis says she misses her dog Coco and wants her back. 

“She’s definitely considered family,” said Davis. “We tied her on a leash on the porch and when we got back, she was gone. We went door to door and house to house trying to look around for her and no one had seen her.”

It turns out, according to the city of Newport News, the dog was picked up by Hampton Animal Control. 

According to the Newport News city spokeswoman, both cities work together for the Peninsula Regional Animal Shelter. 10 On Your Side found out Coco has a microchip, so the city called the number associated with the dog, however, it wasn’t a functioning number. 

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Davis did say her number changed. The city then emailed the email address associated with the dog, which was given to them by the microchip company. Davis said the email address was missing a letter and she never received it. 

According to the city of Newport News, state code was followed. 

The code of Virginia says if a dog is chipped, it must be held for 10 days. If there is no response from owners, the dog is considered custody of the shelter. Coco was picked up April 24 and adopted out on May 8. If the dog does not have a chip, it’s held for five days and then placed in custody of the shelter.

But Davis is questioning one thing: why was she given notice by Hampton Animal Control saying her dog was available to pick up in mid-May, when the dog had already been adopted out?

“I got excited, and I went down there, and that’s when the owner said Coco had already been adopted out,” Davis said. 

She said the next day she got a voicemail saying the dog was in fact at the shelter, but she was not.

“It’s just a run around,” said Davis. “I do want my dog back, she’s been with us for about five years now, that’s like family to us.”

10 On Your Side was also told the Hampton Animal Control followed protocol and attempted to reach out to the owner but again, the number wasn’t in service.  

They say it was a reasonable attempt. 

Davis still wonders why no one came to her house right after the dog was found — she said her correct address is listed with the microchip. 

Here’s what you need to know to avoid a similar situation: If you have a pet, make sure your information is updated. Additionally, call the company that the chip is registered with because when the chip is implanted, it’s registered with a company. 

If your vet did the microchipping, then the vet should have record of what company it’s registered with too. Not only that, if your pet gets loose, call your local animal control immediately.