I wanted to see how others handle the situation where someone is claiming prior ownership of a rescue dog that was pulled from a kill shelter after the statutory required holding period.
It has come up now for us twice in the last 3 months where dogs were impounded by animal control and then came to our rescue after the required holding period. In both cases, the people claiming ownership had been in touch with the shelter, but for one reason or another failed to follow-up and retrieve the dog. We have then been contacted through social media and other channels with desperate pleas to return the dogs.
The cases I have come into contact with have been dogs that seem significantly malnourished and have come from families that don't have much in the way of financial means. In both, they stated that they were in between housing, or their temporary housing wasn't adequate (in one the electricity was cut off, the other they didn't have AC in a trailer).
I feel for these people, but the rescue obtained the dogs and ownership was transferred legally (I have personally read the legal statutes for the state and county). If these people were to apply to adopt the dogs, they likely would not pass our screening process.
Is there a common protocol for handling these? And also, how do you protect your foster homes and potential future adopters from these people if they continue to claim the dogs are theirs?
I appreciate any advice!