PITTSBURG — A Pittsburg family is at arms with the town’s veterinary clinic after discovering a family pet was euthanized despite calls to the clinic searching for the dog.
Carrie Leake said her family’s dog, Yoko, a three-year-old miniature bull terrier, had escaped under the backyard fence when the Leakes got home Feb. 15. Her collar was left on the fence, with a week-old tag from Pittsburg Veterinary Clinic.
The next morning, Leake called the clinic, which operates the animal shelter, and asked if Yoko had been taken to the pound.
““I was told they didn’t have anything like that there, so I trusted her and continued to go and look for Yoko,” she said. “On Feb. 18, I drove by the vet clinic and saw someone at the pound. I asked if he had seen her, and he told me they had just put her to sleep 30 minutes ago. I was in shock.”
When Leake questioned the employees at the clinic, she said they admitted they don’t actually go to the pound and look for animals — they simply check the log provided by the city’s animal control officer.
Yoko was picked up by city employees after a complaint of a dog running free and getting into trash, according to Pittsburg Police Chief Richard Penn.
“The shelter is operated by the Pittsburg Veterinary Clinic and is under contract with the city of Pittsburg to provide animal sheltering services,” Penn said.
By city ordinance, animals impounded are required to be held 72 hours.
“The dog had no collar with an owner’s name or a rabies tag displayed. The dog was euthanized after a 72-hour period as mandated by Pittsburg city ordinance, as an owner could not be located.”
Leake said even though Yoko’s collar was left behind when she crawled under the fence, the dog was microchipped.
“They told me they scanned her and nothing happened,” she said. “Yoko was a very expensive dog. They microchipped her at the kennel before they let us take her home.”
As part of the inquiry, Penn said he contacted American Veterinary Identification Devices.
“They claim to be the world leader in RFID (radio frequency identification device) microchip, and there are no animals that come back to a Pittsburg address under the name of Carrie Thomas or Carrie Leake,” he said.
Leake said she understands some animals have to be euthanized, due to aggression or illness; however, what she does not understand is why, when she called to inquire about Yoko, it didn’t ring any bells.
“She was just there the week before to get her shots,” she said.
Penn said, based on the inquiry conducted, it appears the city of Pittsburg followed the city ordinance as required, and accusations of negligence on behalf of the animal shelter do not appear to be substantiated.
But Leake said policies have to change.
“I don’t see why people can’t walk 20 feet and open a door to look to see if a certain dog is there,” she said. “I’m not going to stop until something changes.”
Leake’s son, Dorian Thompson, hopes his handmade sign in the family’s front yard, which reads, “Stand up for your pet; don’t support the pound,” helps that cause.