Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dog's story will have a happy ending: one year after arriving at animal control shelter, pitbull to be taken by animal rescue group

By Rebecca Clark, The Star

When Tracie Rogers perused The Star’s website last week, as she does every so often, she was shocked to see the face of her dog staring back at her.
The white pit bull with brown patches has been in limbo since last March, waiting for the current owner, Heather Chapman, to be arrested.
For one year, no one knew her name.
Rogers, who said she had the dog since she was a pup, called her Ladybug, or Lady for short.
She said she had to sell Lady when she moved to South Carolina because she was moving to a house with no room for the dog.
Rogers said she thought Lady had gone to a good home.


Chapman was arrested in March and charged with two counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals after animal control officers said they found evidence that Lady and another pit bull were abandoned without food or water.
Chapman has outstanding warrants for her arrest, but law enforcement officers have not found her yet. The animal control shelter has held the dog since then.
“I’m hurt that anybody would do that,” Rogers said, her voice trembling.
She said she would do anything necessary, including paying restitution, to get Lady back.
“I’ve been crying all day,” Rogers said. “My feelings is real hurt. I’m lost.”
Sam Lockridge, health services coordinator, originally told The Star that the animal control director, Rick Geer, would make a decision whether to release her to a humane society, a rescue group or have her euthanized. He said due in part to her unknown history, she would not be put up for adoption by the shelter.

Resolution and restitution

A recent law, passed last year, has given animal control the ability to request payment from the owners for the animals care if they are seized.
If the issue is not resolved in court within ten days, a hearing will be held. The owner can choose to pay for the animals care in 30 days increments, or if they choose not to, the animal control director will make a decision on the dog’s future based on its ability to be adopted.
Lockridge said by the end of the week, Lady will no longer be in the care of the animal shelter.
He said the shelter is planning to give the dog to an animal rescue organization, although he did not name which one.
Lockridge said he has to get the court’s permission to release Ladybug and once that is obtained, the dog will be sent to the animal rescue group.
He said if Rogers wants to get the dog back, she would have to prove her past ownership.
“If she does, I’d be glad for her to have it back,” Lockridge said.
He said Roberts would have to go through the rescue group to adopt the dog.

A happy ending

The plight of Lady and her uncertain future has attracted attention from the community and beyond.
A Facebook page, called Lets Save Shelby, features Lady’s photo and her story.
People are encouraged to get involved and contact the animal shelter in an attempt to save the dog from being euthanized.
By Sunday, the page had 506 fans.
Lockridge wanted people to know Lady’s story will have a happy ending.
“We know the animal is going to be rescued once she is released,” he said. “There will be a happy ending to the story.”
As for Rogers, she is still holding onto hope of bringing Lady home.
“I’m hoping and praying now that I have a bigger yard and can take care of her I can get her back,” she said.

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