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Readers' Review
posted 4 years ago

ere is my horrible experience with a local pet rescue in Lake County, Il

We adopted our dog a little over a year ago from Castaway Pet Rescue. She was a lab/shepherd mix. We already had a dog at home ( a westie that was about 5 at the time) and 5 children (at the time we adopted her our children were 2,4,7,10, and 13. ) We named her Stella and she was a great dog and everyone got along with her. The only problem we had with her was a few times she would get protective of a bone or toy so we told the kids not to go by her if she had a bone but we mostly gave her treats when she was outside away from them so she would not snap at them. That is what she would do if they came close to her when she was protecting something. She only made contact one time but not through the skin but we were afraid she would someday. We just tried to keep the kids away from her while she was eating ect... Otherwise she was a loving, loyal, great dog! Well on Feb. 26th my son (4 years old) was going to pet Stella and Stella lundged and bit him on the face. It was a quick bite not a vicious attack but it left 3 puncture wounds and one was very close to his eye. It really scared us and the fact that it happened when I was within 3 ft of my son and my husband within 6 ft of him. We taught our children how to respect animals and never let them be rough or pull their tails. He was just going to pet our family pet while my husband and I were sitting in the same room and she bit him. Our first reaction was to make sure our son was okay and to clean his wound and evaluate it to see if we thought he needed to go to the hospital.
My husband is a diabetic so we have a lot of supplies here so we cleaned the would with water and antibacterial soap and then with iodine. We watched it carefully and in the morning it looked good. We decided the night of the bite that Stella had to go so Sunday morning was really hard for us. I was a wreck even though she bit my son I was devestated to have to give her back. When we adopted her from "the rescue" we signed the adoption papers and it stated that if for any reason you cannot keep your dog that you have to return it to them. So we figured they were a rescue and they deal with these kinds of situations and would find a family without children for her and she would have a wonderful life. I forgot to mention above that I was also fostering a pit bull puppy for the rescue so they knew I had 3 dogs (I had a westie at the time we adopted Stella and about 4 months later we bought a yorkie). So we had Stella (our lab/shepherd), a westie, a yorkie, and we were fostering a 3 month old pit bull for the "pet rescue that we adopted Stella from". Sorry if it is confusing.
So on Sunday my husband called the owner of the rescue and told her that we had to return our dog that we adopted from them and we were also going to be returning the foster dog at the same time because I was too emotional. I was too upset to get rid of my dog and could not continue to foster at that time. The owner said she could not take them becasue she had too many dogs and one of her dogs had puppies and one passed away the night before but she would call her partner. She called back a little later and spoke with my husband and said that her partner could take the dogs but not until after 3:30 so we said that was fine. A little later they called back and asked if we could bring Stellas rabies certificate and we said we would look for it but did not know if we had it or if we would be able to find it. They said if you find it bring it and to bring $100 dollars because they had to quarentine her for 10 days at the vet and it was $10 dollars a day. So we said okay.
I think it was about 4ish when my husband left here and he went to the atm and took aout $100 dollars and then went to the partners house. He left the dogs in the car and went in and had to fill out a 3 page form with questions of why you are returning the dog and the dogs personality ect. When he tried to bring Stella in she was freaked out. We never took her in the car or to people's houses. She was always just at our house and around whoever came over here so she was really scared. My husband said she snapped at the lady and so my husband put her in a crate she had there. We had not crated her since she was like 4 months old so that probably scared her even more. My husband felt bad so he was like well maybe if you come over here and pet her and she gets your scent she will calm down and she said oh no we need to mentally break her down. My husband gave her the $100 and said goodbye. We had her for over a year and we have 5 children and neighbors and our childrens friends and family and other dogs.......she was not an aggressive dog she was scared. This rescue has dealt with many dogs and many from shelters so I am pretty sure they have come across frightened dogs before.
I asked my husband how the drop off went and he told me. I was upset and cried all night. I told him they were mad at us for returning the dogs and they were going to be mean to her. He said no it is okay. I called my mom and said the same thing and she reassured me that they have seen way worse dogs and they know how to handle them. I also contacted a friend that works at a shelter and she said she will be fine and maybe I can go to Petco and try to help adopt her out. I told my friend that they are mad and probably won't let me. I just had a feeling they were mad or something?? I woke up on Monday morning at 5:45 and begged my husband to go pick her up and that we would find her a home. He said I was just being emotionally. I literally begged him for 15 minutes crying even waking up my 8 year old daughter. She said mommy why were you crying and asking Dan (her step dad) to go pick up Stella. He said we will talk about it later and that he had to go to work. I was a wreck all day but just kept trying to tell myself that maybe I am just over reacting. On Monday also I took my son to the Dr. because I noticed one of the puncture wounds looked like it was getting red around it. The Dr. said it looked pretty good and we did what we should have but she put him on antibiotics to prevent any infection or treat if there was one starting. The Dr. office took down the bite info from me, I guess by law, so I told them what happened, and that we gave the dog back.
On Tuesday morning about 9:30 I recieved a phone call from Lake County animal control and he said he recieved the report about the bite from Lake Forest Pediatrics and was just telling me what to do to quarentine my dog and asked about having the rabies certificate. I told him that we had a rabies certificate for our other dog but when we went Stella was too young and we forgot to go back so she did not have hers. He said we were not in trouble just to quarentine her. I then explained to him that we did not have the dog. He asked where she was and I wold him the name of the pet rescue and he said okay thank you.
About 15-20 minutes later I was talking to my husband at work and he aked if I talked to anyone at the rescue and I said no, why and he said because they sent a text message and he thought I had words with them and I said no what did the text say and he said he was not going to tell me becasue I would be too upset. Well I insisted so he told me. "Dan are you sure you don't have a rabies certificate for Stella? If u don't then our vet will have to cut her head off and send it to be tested due to ur bite report you submitted today. We euth her yesterday so there is no observation. She was completely aggressive." I was furious! I did not know if I believed it or not. (On Sunday when my husband filled out the paperwork we signed our dog over to them why did they have to send that email to me it seems only to hurt us. Why would it matter if her head was cut off she was dead already. They already killed her). So I called animal control back and told them what the text said and he said yeah they had to send her head in to be tested because she was not quarentined and did not have her rabies certificate. I told him that they said they were going to quarentine her at the vet and he said that they told him that we never told them about the bite. I could not believe what was happeneing. I could not believe what they did to my dog and then they were lying. I was completely DEVESTATED! Uriel the guy at Lake county animal control told me to call the Department of Agriculture and gave me the number. I called and spoke to Dr. ? I can't remember his name but he is the head vet guy there and he put an investigator on the case. Her name is Paula. I told her all my info. At this point it was our word againt theirs as far as a legal stand point unless the rescue turned over the paperwork. I thought there was no way they were going to turn over the paperwork my husband filled out becasue it would prove they lied but I guess that that is all they had to do LIE. They told the Dept. of Agriculture that they never read the paperwork. Ridiculous but that is our system!!! I am guessing they were just going to euth my dog and not test her. If she was positive for rabies and they did that my son would have died. I know now I was responsible for reporting it but they were still supposed to quarantine her. By the time humans show signs it is too late and it is 100% fatal. My dog would have been cremated so there would have been no evidence against them. Well on Friday March 4th I called animal contol and spoke to Uriel and asked if they had any rabies results yet and he said no that the head was cut off the day before and it was on its way to Springfield, Il to be tested. I asked him if her body was still at the animal hospital and he said it might be and I asked if he thought they would let me have her ashes and he gave me their number to call. I called them and told them theat the rescue was the final owner but I was the previous owner as of a few days before and I was wondering if I could have my dogs ashes privately cremated. She put me on hold and then came back on and told me she would have to call me back with a price. I did not receive a call for a couple hours so I called back and the lady said yes I could have them and it would be $170 dollars. I gave her my credit card info over the phone. My card was charged (C.A.R.E. Animal Hospital in Libertyville). On Tuesday March 8th the investigator Paula from the Department of Agriculture met with the partner of the rescue that my husband took our dog too. Paula did get the paperwork and it did state that we returned the dog because it bit my son on the face. The following day I received a call on my cell phone from the owner and she told me to call CARE Animal Hospital because thay are not allowing me to have my dogs ashes and they need to refund my card. So this rescue would rather have my dogs ashes thrown out than let a greiving family have them. On the phone the owner also told me that she contacted all of Stellas litter mates and the most they have ever done was chew up a slipper. Well I got a hold of one of her litter mates and we exchanged email and I spoke to her husband on Sunday March 20th and their dog actually bit their neighbor on the ear and snaps too. They are taking it ti a behavior specialist. If that did not work they were going to take it back to the rescue. After hearing my story they said they definately will not. I think most people would have this reaction about adopting or returning their dogs from this rescue. I think that is people knew what was done to my family no one would adopt from them. I know I would not. I even called other rescues (one being in Huntley, Il) and they said that when they get aggressive dogs they sometimes cannot phyically handle them for weeks. My dog was not even really aggressive just scared. I am so upset her last 24 hours were in fear. That is all they gave her 24 hours maybe less if they took her in the morning.
Please do not let them devestate another family. I had to watch my daughters cry their eyes out after hearing she was gone. Of course I left out the gruesome details. Then I told them we were going to get ther ashes and she would still be here with us then they took that from us. The saddest part is we know she would have been a wonderful pet to someone if the rescue would have tried and given her a few days!!! Please tell your friends and family my story if they are looking to adopt from a rescue.
In Loving Memory of Stella

Pros: None

Cons: Dishonest Unfair Euthanization Sad Adoption Story

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