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When A Rescue Goes Wrong

Your Dog is Missing!

Someone leaves the gate open or the fence has blown down. Your dog gets frightened and bolts from a showground – you are involved in an auto accident. You hear those dreaded words telling you that your dog is missing! This is your beloved pet, not just your prized showdog. You love this dog. You’ve groomed this beautiful creature into the gorgeous representative of the breed, campaigned with her across the country. Your dog is recognized as one of the best, a CHAMPION among champions – yet, through a slip of fate, your dog is gone.

What next? How do you recover your beloved pet and beautiful champion?

The Tale of Two Shelties

On April 17, 2014, two separate Champion Show Dogs were lost. In Franklin County, Missouri, a Champion Sheltie named “Drake” bolted from his enclosure at the Sheltie Nationals Dog Show. In Franklin County, Ohio, “Piper” (Ch. Legacies Pipe Dream) escaped from an open gate in the backyard of her caretaker. Both owners faced the frightening loss of their beloved Shelties but these stories have two very different endings.

Drake’s Tale

When Drake bolted from the fairgrounds at the Sheltie Nationals near Gray Summit, MO, everyone came together to track him. What resulted was a two week search that covered 21 miles, legions of volunteers, trackers and the media until Drake was found and reunited with his grateful owner.

Drake before he became lost..

The search for him as he disappeared into the woods took convoluted turns. He headed east as public sightings helped track his movements. Perhaps the most frustrating of all was a picture of Drake sleeping on someone’s patio during that search. He ran away before he could be captured. 

Finally, on the 13th day, Stacy Ray-Dames, a vet tech on her way to work spotted him in the median of the highway and pulled over. She caught him and took him directly to the veterinarian office where she worked. He was covered in ticks and burrs and had a fever of 105, but he survived to go home to the family who loves him. 

And the owners cheered! The volunteers and trackers cheered! The media and social networks cheered – all who had watched, hoped, waited, prayed for this dog’s safe return … cheered.

Drakes Welcome back party!!

But…

455 miles away, there was and is only silence – and anger.

Piper’s Tale

On April 17th (the same day Drake bolted), Piper also bolted from the fenced back yard where she was staying with a family taking care of her while her owner, ironically, was also at the Sheltie Nationals in Missouri. What a difference six hours can make between great happiness for one owner and great heartache for the other.

Piper

On April 17, Piper was picked up quickly just blocks away from that open gate in Franklin County, Ohio. Veronica Covatch left Piper with caretakers as she showed her younger shelties at the same fairgrounds where Drake made his escape. While Piper’s caretakers were frantically searching for her. Piper was being processed into the shelter shortly after 1:39 pm.

On April 18, the Franklin County Animal Shelter (Ohio) scanned Piper and found her microchip at 12:51:53 pm. The shelter contacted the chip manufacturer and was given the name of the veterinarian who implanted the chip. When the shelter called the veterinarian’s office that afternoon (according to the notes on the shelter forms), the office told the shelter they would retrieve the owner information and call them back. This was Friday afternoon – Good Friday, but not so good for Piper.

On Easter Sunday, people united to search for Drake in Missouri, while the Franklin County Animal Shelter in Ohio entered a note in Piper’s file at 1:46:49 pm, a note saying “OH Sheltie contacted, if unclaimed please change status to ‘Awaiting Rescue. KM.’” At 4:15:43 pm the shelter entered a note stating “Holding, waiting on call back from facility where chip was implanted (ljc 4/20/14).”

On Monday, April 21, Shelter records recorded at 11:01:42 am state: “NO RESPONSE-CANT DO ANYMORE — SG.” Monday, when the caretakers went to the shelter, after wrongly assuming the shelter would be closed over Easter, Piper was no longer there. Piper had been transferred to Penny Sanderbeck/COSR.

Piper had been turned over to Penny Sanderbeck, director of Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue. The Shelter release form also shows that Piper’s microchip number and the contact for that chip are on the forms given to Sanderbeck. No further attempts were made by either the Shelter OR Sanderbeck to follow up and locate Piper’s owner(s).

When Covatch returned on Tuesday, April 22 and was told Piper was missing, she immediately contacted the Franklin County Animal Shelter where it was confirmed again that Piper had already been turned over to Penny Sanderbeck (COSR).

Here’s Where Things Get Complicated!

What has happened after Covatch contacted Sanderbeck is enough to rattle the nerves of every dog owner.

Sanderbeck has steadfastly refused to return Piper for over three months. At first, Sanderbeck asked for more time to determine the “true” owner. Then Sanderbeck said she had personal issues and couldn’t deal with verifying Covatch as the owner at that time. Sanderbeck asked for proof of ownership. Then she asked for MORE proof. Covatch sent her AKC registration, the microchip verification of her and her co-owner as legal owners among multiple other documents.

Sanderbeck offered more excuses why she could not return Piper to her owner. None of them made sense and none them were a logical explanation for the delay. In frustration, after waiting almost two weeks (the time it took Drake to come home), Covatch posted an online petition to ask for support to bring Piper home.

News of Piper not being promptly returned to Covatch hit social media. The posting drew an immediate outcry from pet owners around the country. Sanderbeck posted multiple conflicting justifications for not returning Piper to Covatch on the COSR facebook page. She also posted a statement that she was not going to return Piper due to “internet bullying”.

Sanderbeck posted she had now determined (without ever speaking to Covatch or acknowledging the multiple documents provided) that Piper belonged to COSR and she had determined that Piper’s best interests would be served by being adopted by strangers. The COSR facebook page and website along with all comments were then taken down from the internet. What was Sanderbeck’s reasoning? Sanderbeck stated that because Covatch had not filed her name with the Home-Again registry, the microchip identification from the veterinarian who implanted it was insufficient proof.

This arbitrary decision has inflamed the social network dog community. That decision has frightened dog owners who worry chips may not read when scanned, or a different make of scanner may list the chip as “unregistered” (a common scan error) OR owners who have paid the service registry fee yearly to list their information would be ignored. Sanderbeck appears to be basing her argument on a technicality – if a microchip is not filed with the registry, it must not be “registered. This faulty and dangerous reasoning threatens every owner who assumes that the microchip is a “guarantee” their pet will be returned if found.

In late April, the ASSA (American Shetland Sheepdog Association) got involved in an attempt to resolve what seemed a strange stance take by COSR. The actions of Sanderbeck/COSR were damaging other rescue groups as outrage grew over Piper and donors threatened to withhold support for all. When Sanderbeck demanded all negative comments be removed from the internet before she would even discuss returning Piper, pages were taken down. Bloggers removed web pages critical of Sanderbeck to aid Covatch in regaining her dog. (Some were reinstated, however, when the negotiations failed.)

As each condition was met, new and more bizarre ones were made. Sanderbeck claimed a break-in had occurred at her house and that was related to Piper. In an attempt to connect Covatch to the alleged break-in, she demanded that Covatch solve that “crime” before she would return Piper. After nearly two weeks of trying to find a workable solution to this dispute, on May 8th, the negotiations ended with no success and Covatch was no closer to regaining her Champion girl.

On May 11, the COSR website reappeared containing a Public Statement from COSR attorney, John A. Bell. The impossible demands made during the ASSA negotiations were once again listed as conditions of Piper’s return. The letter from Mr. Bell also claimed that Piper is still in Ohio and has not been placed nor would she be until proof of ownership was submitted and the issue is resolved. Covatch sent the AKC registration papers, veterinarian confirmation of the microchip implanted confirming the owner names, as well as with multiple other items showing that Piper belonged to Covatch. Covatch also offered to pay to have Piper DNA tested as the DNA of both her Sire and Dam (still owned by Covatch) are registered with the AKC. THIS time, Covatch sent the paperwork to COSR’s attorney through her own attorney.

Piper was not returned.

The Battle for the Show Dog

What originally appeared to be a wonderful rescue story of a lost sheltie turned into a heated battle between breeders, dog owners and rescue groups. The stubborn refusal of Sanderbeck/COSR to return Piper to her owner has polarized all sides of the issue.

What is the real reason that Piper has not been returned? Is it her value as Champion Show Dog? That value is without question. That she would be highly prized by any person “adopting” her is also without question? Rescued dogs often come with medical costs and behavioral problems. A Champion Show Dog such as Piper comes with no overhead and would be highly sought after by sheltie lovers looking to “rescue” a dog in need, especially a highly trained, well bred and healthy one.

Are not breed specific rescues there to help the dogs in need? The breed specific rescues know of the peculiarities of their breed and can guide future owners on how to work with those peculiarities to give a second chance to dogs in trouble. The problem here is that this particular dog is not “in need”. Piper already has a loving home and an owner who wants her back.

The Emotional Issue

Every dog owner knows that a dog can escape and be lost or stolen, even with the best precautions taken.

In November of 2012, Leslie and Michael Fassio were returning from the Australian Shepherd Nationals when they had an accident near Phoenix, AZ. Two of their dogs, Eve and Tacoda, ran from the accident scene into the desert and were missing for a week. Their plight was covered by multiple media sources and they were finally found with the help of volunteers and trackers.

It can happen to any of us. Not all dogs lost are purebred or show dogs – but ALL dogs lost are family! Find ILY on facebook has remained active to help other lost dogs after Rose Sharman ILY (I Love You) ran from the scene of her accident, one that left Rose severely injured and killed her beloved dog, Heffie. That rescue took over a month. Rose and ILY’s story made National News when they were reunited.

The great role of those rescue organizations that help reunite lost dogs with their owners is not in question. Indeed, many rescues were formed after helping with such happy occasions, including Central Ohio Sheltie Organization. Sanderbeck has stated that she founded COSR after helping search for Knight, a sheltie lost by a breeder . Knight was recovered in the fall of 2000. That reunion was what sparked Sanderbeck to help other families recover their own dogs by starting the Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue.

However, a lost dog where the owner is searching for that pet does not need “rescuing” – that dog needs help to get home. That dog needs a temporary safe haven until reunited with the owner. The dog does not need to be kept from the family that owns and loves that dog.

What has happened when rescue becomes the enemy of both the dog and owner? Why are there now such disconnects between breeders, owners and rescue organizations?

Rescues supporting Sanderbeck now state they will never contact a breeder again if a breeder’s dog comes into their hands. Supporters of Covatch say they will never contribute to any Rescue Organization again because of the actions by COSR against it’s own mission statement.

What now compounds Piper’s situation is how people are becoming polarized along ideological lines. This has become more than just one dog – this has become a war zone!

The LEGAL issue – Piper’s Case moves to the Courtroom

Some states directly address conversion of property in clear and concise language. Wisconsin, North Carolina, New York and California have very specific language addressing the incorrect assumption of “finders keepers” with animals. Not returning an identified animal, even after an extended period of time is considered felony theft. Negligence in locating a found animal does not relieve the finder of responsibility nor does the animal simply become theirs by manner of possession.. Simply put, holding an animal that is found does not automatically convert ownership of that animal to the one with current possession because the possessor feeds or cares for the animal. Finders Keepers does not apply over lost property, including dogs.
In all states and on federal levels, statutes protect property owners as dogs are considered “property” in the eyes of the law. This is where the attorneys begin the battle over Piper.

After multiple attempts at resolving this issue between the parties failed, the Law Offices of Lloyd Cohen representing Veronica Covatch issued the following statement in a statement sent out Thursday, July 30th.

Press Release:

Rescue Holds Pup Hostage

A companion animal is being held hostage. Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue and its director
Penny Sanderbeck refuses to return lost dog to rightful owner! On July 28, 2014 Veronica
Covatch filed a Complaint for Replevin and Conversion action in the Franklin County Municipal Court, in Columbus Ohio, against COSR seeking the return of her beloved dog known as Piper. Case Number 2014-CVF-024571. Even though the rescue had claimed that part of its mission is to reunite dogs with their owners and even though many documents, photos, and microchip identification has been supplied to COSR, legal action was filed after the rescue rejected numerous pleas to reunite Piper with her rightful owner. Owner, Vernoica Covatch and her supporters believe that the COSR refusal is due to the fact that Piper is not only a healthy loved companion but also a valuable AKC champion show dog. They feel that the director’s own interest may have something to do with the Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue refusing to reunite Veronica with her beloved companion. She hopes that the court filings will Bring Piper Home.

Released by

Cohen Law Offices
Lloyd D. Cohen
Attorney at Law
824 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43206
Phone: (614) 444-4211 Email: lcohen@lloydcohen.com

Piper

…Comment is from the internet fund raising site www.gofundme.com/Bring-Piper-Home, saying,

 

Piper is the reason…. we will continue on…. she is not home yet, and we will not stop until she is. Thank you ALL.

Piper’s Owner Veronica Wagner Covatch, 1589 Motten Road, Punxsutawney, PA (814) 938-4091

Piper’s Co-Owner, Michelle Wilson, 70 W Chester Street, Apt C., Norwalk, Ohio (419) 681-4891

Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue, director Penny G. Sanderbeck, HQ located at 2266 Majestic Place, Columbus, Ohio 43232 (614) 578-0921

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When asked about the growing concerns over Piper’s well-being, Lloyd Cohen, the attorney for Covatch, answered, “Since she’s [Sanderbeck] had Piper for a while and we don’t know what she’s done and what to believe, our feeling is to bring this to light. Since filings have been made, that should be very helpful as far as protecting Piper.”

When asked why Piper has not been returned, Cohen had this response:

“To me, Penny [Sanderbeck] appears to have some confusion as to whether she’s the director of a 501c3 organization or it is just some front for her personal enterprise. Court pleadings allege that and we will be following up on that in Court.”

“No matter what the disputes between the people are, the replevin action is filed because the personal disputes have nothing to do with ownership of Piper and whether Piper, as a living, feeling creature, should be restored to the owners with whom she is bonded”

Questions Unanswered (Yet)

This legal battle clearly draws the lines for all pet owners, shelters, rescue organization and individuals who might mean well but don’t understand their own liability in finding and keeping an animal. This battle is not just over one dog – it is about all dogs who go lost or are stolen.

Why are owners along with their dogs put through unjustifiable emotional and financial trauma needlessly?

Has the public trust in rescue been breached? Who has oversight over rescue organizations and non-profits? Do rescue organizations need stricter oversight?

Should owners/breeders be concerned if their dogs end up in a rescue situation? Will their dogs be made to “disappear”, too?

Will microchip manufacturers find their products are no longer trusted to help lost pets be quickly reunited as advertised?

This is Not Over

Piper has a microchip. She was only “missing” a few hours before being picked up. Her microchip was found and the contact listed. Why did the shelter allow an identified dog to be quickly given over to another organization without following through on the microchip?

Why didn’t Sanderbeck/COSR try to call the contact number for the microchip when it was also recorded on Piper’s release form?

How can a rescue that has possession of a microchipped dog for only 24 hours justify not returning that dog to the owner?

But, the real question here is this:

“Piper is microchipped! What IS the issue here?

That question has yet to be answered, but I feel sure that when Sanderbeck stands in a Court of Law, she will be given the opportunity to do so and we will be there to keep you informed as to her response!

Related Links:

Lost Sheltie, Drake

Missing Dog Found 13 Days Missing show dog found 13 days after he first went missing

Dailykos How much do you love your pet – then you better read this

Dailykos Ever Have a Pup Lost or Stolen

Piper Bring Me Home

Bring Piper Home (GoFundMe)

Public Statement: CentralOhioSheltieRescue website

Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue – Facebook

COSR Mission Statement (cached page)

Legal Rights and Duties: Lost Dog Disputes

Finder’s Keepers Does Not Apply to Lost Dogs

Weeklong search for dogs has happy ending

Find ILY

After bad crash, dog survives two months in desert

Rose and ILY’s reunion (have tissues – you cannot watch this without crying)

Image of Piper in Winner’s Circle

 

Written by

Edrie Blackwelder has owned, loved and bred Samoyeds beginning in 1970. She is also active in Rescue of dogs (both purebred and mixed breeds), cats, horses, birds and wildlife. She ardently fights for the protection of both animals and the rights of those who own them. Her passion also includes protecting the health of the planet we share with all creatures. She is active in disaster preparedness through CERT program, ARES and the Large Animal Evacuation team in her home area. You can follow her writing on Dailykos here. http://www.dailykos.com/blog/edrie/
Comments
  • ausdogs August 4, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    Wow ! People unbelievable that’s why I surround myself with aussie’s. What can I do to help? Here this will do the trick. Get this to your lawyer and have him charge the rescue as it applies; (Get the word to the owner) Public Law 109-374 Nov.27 2006 that will get your beloved back.

    • Lorain Shelties August 4, 2014 at 3:01 PM

      What everyone can do to help is share this everywhere, and most importantly, share with your wallet. Even one dollar for everyone that reads this article will help ease the financial burden on Veronica for the legal fees that this is going to take. It is believed that COSR is being represented pro bono, eg for FREE. Lets make this a fair fight – this is every dog owners worst nightmare.

  • Betty Thomas August 4, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    In my eyes Piper has been stolen, pure and simple, that poor dog would have been returned immediately if it wasn’t a CHAMPION , that despicable woman is just trying to keep him for breeding. Karma is a. BITCH so judge if you read this do the legal and right thing and return PIPER to his legal original rightful owner.

    • Golden Margaret August 6, 2014 at 6:38 AM

      Her ownership will not be transferred, and no puppies she whelps can be registered. She cannot be shown. Her only value is her good looks and health.

  • Debbie Newton August 4, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Central Ohio Sheltie Rescue, director Penny G. Sanderbeck…RETURN PIPER TO HIS RIGHTFUL OWNER!!!! Shouldn’t that be the mission of every rescue? Dogs NEED to be with their family. Accidents do happen. WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND PENNY SANDERBECK!!! You are a thief!!! I hope this news goes viral and puts your non-profit so called rescue group out of business.

  • Michael Rea August 4, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    In a further attempt to get her way and quiet the people attempting to find justice in this case. I have heard and have evidence that Ms. Sanderbeck is circulating a ‘do not adopt or return dogs’ list to other rescue organizations that contain the names of Veronica’s supporters. Her attorney is threatening to pursue slander or liable suits for damaging Ms. Sanderbeck’s business. In my opinion, operating a rescue is not a business, it’s a privilege afforded to people with high moral and ethical standards. You read the article above, does Ms. Sanderbeck appear to possess those moral and ethical standards in your opinion?

  • Madlyn Glazer August 5, 2014 at 6:46 AM

    Purely unbelieveable!! Has the animosity towards reputable Show Hobby Breeders from jaded rescue people gone so far as to basically kidnap and hold for ransom a breeders beloved pet, top show dog? Have Sanderbeck/COSR lost sight of the fact that the purpose of rescue is to REHOME DOGS THAT NEED REHOMING–not a dog that just got lost from its owner who has all the proof necessary for any reasonable person to recognize proper ownership. And what about Piper–PIPER NEEDS TO BE IN HIS OWN HOME, WITH HIS OWNER AND OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS (BOTH 2 AND 4-LEGGED). Has COSR lost sight of tis fact! I wonder how many Shelties that need rescuing have been ignored while their energies and resources go towards this ridiculous battle.

  • Bettina Miller August 5, 2014 at 9:58 AM

    this is soooo unbelievable to me…i would be on the next plane to Ohio, hire a private investigator to see where the dog is being held hostage and freaking break down the door to get in, to get my dog back., and deal with the rest of the b.s later..this infuriates me beyond words…SHAME ON THIS WOMAN, APPARENTLY SHE HAS NO MORAL COMPASS…….

    • JenniferT August 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      This is being handled as well as it can be by Veronica. Breaking down doors and behaving in an illegal manner would only deter her attempts to get her dog back. I understand the sentiment, but ALL of us need to behave in a civilized manner and follow legal channels if we are to be of any assistance in getting Piper home where She belongs. (Piper IS female, which I see some folks aren’t aware of here.)

  • Karina August 5, 2014 at 8:21 PM

    O!M!G!! I would totally sue the hell out of that stupid rescues!!! This thief Penny Sanderbeck for stealing the dog should go to jail lifetime!!! And her stupid rescue BS should be shut down! Wow! They are talking about breeders make money its all business… look at puppy mill and rescues are all money and they do business like this!! Sorry but thats why i dont like rescues.. I like this chapter where it says: “However, a lost dog where the owner is searching for that pet does not need “rescuing” – that dog needs help to get home. That dog needs a temporary safe haven until reunited with the owner. The dog does not need to be kept from the family that owns and loves that dog.What has happened when rescue becomes the enemy of both the dog and owner? Why are there now such disconnects between breeders, owners and rescue organizations?

    Rescues supporting Sanderbeck now state they will never contact a breeder again if a breeder’s dog comes into their hands. Supporters of Covatch say they will never contribute to any Rescue Organization again because of the actions by COSR against it’s own mission statement.” I wont contribute either!

  • AMH August 5, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    Why in the world would anyone go through three months of
    “negotiating” before hiring an attorney to file the replevin? Generally, in a replevin action the party claiming ownership in the property can go to court to have the dog removed to a neutral site to be boarded until the ownership is decided by the court. Lot of time wasted.

    • lorainshelties August 6, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      To reply to your question why so long, there are a number of reasons why one might proceed slowly. Litigation and lawyers are costly, and it is usually in the best interests of both parties to resolve their differences without the intervention of legal help if it is at all possible. Even when self help remedies fail, sometimes calling on legal representation to negotiate, which removes the emotions of the parties, will bring about the desired result. It is only when even good faith efforts show that there is no other recourse, but a lawsuit, that such an action is taken, after carefully weighing the risks and benefits of going that route.

  • Wren August 5, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    Rescue or vigiliante?

  • Lynne Jardine August 6, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    Very well written. Thank you. I will be checking in to see how this tragic story progresses through the courts. Does anyone know if there is a hearing date set yet? Again, thank you.

  • Skeptic August 6, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Several key points of this story are falsehoods.

    A better question is… What agenda is being furthered by taking down the rescue?

    • kayla
      kayla August 7, 2014 at 7:41 AM

      Hi,
      Thank you for writing and being part of our audience. The real question is why would a rescue refuse to return the dog, why would the parent Club’s rescue dissociate themselves from COSR and why would a Judge issue orders that the dog is to be returned? A good rescue should be dedicated to returning dogs to their homes and saving their resources for dogs that really are in need.

  • princehouse
    Patricia August 6, 2014 at 11:08 PM

    Has any outside party actually seen Piper?

    It makes no sense that the dog wouldn’t be returned. It suggests that something has happened to Piper. Was she sold or perhaps died in an accident? It seems bizarre that someone use rescue as a business. Do they breed the rescue dogs? Do they not want to return her because she has a litter? In these days of designer dogs, a dog doesn’t need papers to command a high purchase price. The article does not make clear the viewpoint of the people supporting the rescue business. Are these also people who make a living selling rescue dogs or their offspring?

    An analogy suggests itself: If someone parks his car on the street, how is that different from a wandering dog? What keeps someone from coming along with a tow truck and taking the car and selling it, claiming the property was abandoned? The same laws that apply to any other property. If a dog or car is stolen, one would expect it to be treated as a criminal action, to be investigated by police and the property immediately reclaimed -by official force if necessary.

    If animals are not property but more like children with “pet parents” then another analogy would be to a lost child. If someone finds a 5-year-old wandering in the mall and decides to remove her from the premises and keep her, how do you prove she isn’t theirs? If there were any real doubt, the child would be put in social services pending determination of custody. A judge would determine whether there’s a reason the child’s best interests would be served by preventing the parents from reclaiming their child. Either way, this just doesn’t sound like a civil matter. The dog should be located and confiscated by e.g. animal control and held pending investigation into ownership/proper custody.

  • Cheryl August 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM

    I wonder about this drawn-out delay in returning Piper. Did this obviously anti-show breeder “rescue” person, Penny Sanderbeck, perhaps have this dog spayed immediately, and therefore destroyed the intrinsic value of a champion show bitch for which she would now be liable? Likely, I’d guess, as the delay would allow the surgical wound to heal and hair to grow back, thereby attempting to “fool” the court and owner into thinking this dog was being returned intact. That would be my guess. I, too, wish Replevin had been filed much earlier so such proof would have been apparent. At 3 mos, or longer, much physical evidence would be lost. Has Veronica’s lawyer considered this?
    I would also make sure that word spread and that all support of this Penny Sanderbeck’s operation be halted. By ASSA, by the local Sheltie club, by contacting the State about pulling her 501c3 status. If Veronica wins her case, I’d for sure follow up with the State on this aspect.
    Out here in Oregon, a law passed in July that makes it illegal for any person outside of any licensed agency perform rescue. This includes breed clubs. As a result, the PNWSSC disbanded its rescue operation and funds. This area is swamped with “rescue-for-profit” operators, mostly in Washington state, but it includes our local Animal Control which supplements its meager municipal budget with the sales of rescues, and has on at least two occasions gone down to California to bring back “unwanted” pets from “overcrowded shelters” to sell up here. Yet, didn’t Los Angeles, a year or so back, import some 10,000 mix dogs from Mexico to fill the demand for pets in their now-mandatory spay/neuter county? Feels like HSUS is winning, no matter which way we turn. In this case, there is no reasonable excuse for Piper not being returned, except for 1) hatred of breeders (personal) or 2) unauthorized spay which destroyed Piper’s value. Wanna bet on which one?

    • Sindy August 12, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      Could also be unauthorized sale – the question of whether or not any other party has physically seen Piper is a good one – what if she hasn’t been returned because she was already sold to adopters that are unaware of the situation?

  • emszoo October 24, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    OMG this is horrible! Makes me wonder if my missing sheltie Mya didn’t end up in a rescue like this even though she is also chiped and I did everything in my power to find her. But like Piper, Mya was also a show dog, therefore intact and I am her breeder. I shudder to think some so called rescue person could have deemed me unfit to have my dog back so she was spayed and placed while I was looking for her and begging for her to be returned to me.
    I think most rescue people are good but we need some regualtions. As it stands now anyone can call themselves a rescue and that needs to change. The blacklash from this could put an end to rescue or some shelters working with rescue which could cost many lives but at the same time breeders and owners shouldn’t have live in fear of a rescue person with an anti-show/breeder agenda.
    I hope justice will be served and an example is made of this woman.

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