With hundreds of missing animals at humane society, searching can be hard

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- A Michiana mother, who has been missing her puppy since March, finds her by looking online, and can't get her back.

It's a troubling tale of a lost pup who is now getting adopted by a different family.

And it's legal. 

"She doesn't have a face I would forget. She has certain markings on her face that I know, and I can pinpoint what they're from," explains Lindzy Wise. 

She searched endlessly for her pure-bred pitbull puppy, Karma, after she was taken from her yard during a move. 

"I filed a loss report," Wise says. "We put up posts on Facebook. We searched for months."

Wise adds she went into various shelters as much as she could, trying to find Karma.

Nearly five months later, she had given up hope. 

But a few days ago, Wise was scrolling through Facebook when she came across a St. Joseph County Humane Society post, showing her missing dog.

The dog was advertised as heading to an adoption event, so Wise quickly reached out to the shelter.

But it was too late. Another family had already been approved to adopt the dog. 

"They told me there wasn't anything they could do. She was being adopted out and I was basically out of luck," says Wise. 

With hundreds of animals coming into the Humane Society shelter every month, officials try to place them into forever homes as soon as they can. 

The humane society tells ABC57 that Wise's dog had been in quarantine for six weeks, and was in the adoption center for a month.

Wise says she never saw her there. 

With so many lost pets coming through their doors, they follow the law that dictates how long they hold a stray in quarantine. 

Without an ID, its just two to three days.

With one, it's a little longer.

"It's either 14 days or 10 days depending on which jurisdiction they come from,"explains Genny Carlson, the Executive Director of the St. Joseph County Humane Society. "[That's] before making a decision on whether to move them to adoption, sending them to a rescue, or something like that."

They typically hold them longer, hoping that their owner is proactive in finding them and claiming them.

But if no one does, they try to find the lost pet a new family, as soon as possible. 

"I just really feel like there could have been something done," says Wise.  "I understand the adoption was set to go through, but to me, I feel like they could have contacted the potential adopter and said the owner came forward...can you come in and we can work out something. But I feel like none of these options were given. "

Although it was too late for Wise, both she and Carlson don't want this situation to happen to anyone else. 

"Just be very vigilant about it," says Carlson.. 

It's the biggest piece of advice she says she can give to anyone missing their pet: keep looking.

"So far this year, we've had over two thousand animals, including dogs, cats, wildlife, everything, come to our facility," she explains.

That makes keeping track of every animal, a little difficult.

"It's very hard for us to identify animal for their owners, especially if they are not micro-chipped, not licensed, or has an ID or rabies tag on them," adds Carlson. 

The loss report for the humane society even states they will not provide details on found animals, via the phone.

"It's the owner's responsibility to come and take a look at the shelters to find their animals. We see thousands of animals, literally, so it's very important for owners to come in," she adds. 

Officials say, they just want the same thing as any pet lover. 

"We would rather see them with their families," explains Carlson. "And not sit here in the humane society for months on end, waiting for a forever home, and us trying to find them a home, when they already have a home."

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