Family's missing dog adopted before they could claim him

By  | 

PARKER, S.D. (KSFY) - A family, whose dog went missing, is searching for answers, after their beloved lab mix "Jake" was adopted out, one day before they called to see if he had been picked up by the Humane Society.

The Rang family explained their dog Jake regularly roams around outside on their farm.

"He likes to go out, walk around, chase after whatever," said Garrett Rang. "Then he always comes back."

Garrett was taking care of his family's farm while his parents Don and Janeen were on a trip out of town, he fed the livestock and tended to regular chores, and each morning and night, came to let Jake out and feed him.

Two Thursdays ago, Garrett explained, he was finished with his morning chores and feeding the cattle. He was ready for work, but Jake was nowhere to be found. Garrett said he knew Jake had plenty of ways to get in their home and wasn't too concerned. When Garrett came by that night, Jake still wasn't around, but he thought maybe he'd curled up somewhere on the farm for the night. By Friday night, he had a feeling Jake was missing.

Garrett drove around Parker asking neighbors if they'd seen Jake. When they hadn't, he waited until Saturday, when his parents returned to tell them what was going on.

Janeen said, it never even occurred to the family that Jake would be all the way at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society, until a friend of Garrett's asked if they'd tried calling.

"It never even dawned on me to contact the Humane Society," Janeen explained. "We're kind of a long way out from Sioux Falls."

Janeen said she made the call about a week after Jake went missing. The Humane Society told her a dog matching Jake's description might be there, and that he'd been picked up in near Hartford, about a week before.

Once Garrett got there to see if Jake was there, the Rang family said whoever they spoke to, told them that the dog they had adopted out just a day before was a puppy, not as old as Jake, who turned five in January.

The entire Rang family went back to the Humane Society together later in the evening to make their case again.

"I said, 'We think you've adopted out our dog, you know, could you just please call the people?' Cause it'd only been a day," Janeen explained.

"'Could you please just call the people and ask them if they'd mind giving him back to us? Cause, we miss him.'"

The Rang family said the Humane Society started to change its story -- telling them that they'd have to ask the Humane Officer that found Jake to do that -- but the Rangs said, the officer told them they didn't have the information to contact the family.

When daughter Danielle, who's attending school out in Pierre and working during session, caught wind of what was going on, she put up a post on Facebook pleading for help finding Jake. In just a matter of days, the post has been shared more than 1,300 times.

This weekend, after session, she returned home and went to the Humane Society herself to see if she could find out what the policy on stray animals was.

"I went in and asked for the manager, I went right to the top of the chain, so I didn't have to keep explaining over and over," Danielle said.

"They would never actually confirm, 'Well we don't know if this is your dog,' they kept saying over and over again.

"When she talked about him, she'd say, 'Well I know the family he's with personally, and I can assure you, your dog is in a good home.' When she was talking about him she'd refer to him as 'Jake' or 'your dog.'"

So finally, she'd had enough.

"I said, 'I just want to know what your procedure is on this because I'm sure this has happened before,' and when I said that, 'I'm sure this has happened before,' as in, adopting the dog out, that's when I was asked to leave," she explained.

The Rang family is confused and heartbroken, but besides all that, they have questions.

"We just kind of wonder why the Humane Society gives them [his new adoptive family] more rights, since they've had him one day and we've had him for five years," said Don Rang.

Danielle explained, they're not trying to bash the Humane Society, although the widespread sharing of the post has led to some of that, but instead, they want to understand why their dog was only held for a couple of days.

"We're not trying to attack the Humane Society, but if they did honestly follow their policy, then, it's a bad policy," she said. "I mean, five days -- if the dog's identified and its very clearly a dog that somebody loves and is missing -- [that] needs to be changed."

KSFY News reporter Erika Leigh stopped by the Humane Society on Sunday to get their side of the story. Executive director Kori Baade was off, but called KSFY back with this statement:

"This is an unfortunate situation for all parties. The Sioux Falls Humane Society works very hard for the area’s animals and are following the law the way it was written."

The Rang family just hopes the family who has Jake will get in touch with them and be willing to come to a solution that works for everyone.