I don’t usually post stuff like this, but since this involved my daughter and it ostensibly involves public policy, I thought I’d relay her story and my thoughts about it.
The short version is, my daughter, Rachel Evans, a 19-year-old college student with little money, tried to do a good deed today and was punished for it (I guess there’s a good reason for the old saying “no good deed goes unpunished).
Here’s her rendition from an email to me:
I walk out of the house at 8:30, there are two dogs that come running up to me. A black rotty mix and a fluffy/tan golden retriever mix. Really friendly, licking my hand and looking for a good ear scratch.
Only the tan one has a collar, but no tags. I opened up my hatch and they both jumped in (surprisingly) and I looked up the number to PACC and drove off.
After being on hold with “Dispatch” (I assume animal control dispatch) for fifteen minutes, a lady asked me what the problem was. I explained that I have 2 dogs that I found in my property etc. Without me asking her to do so, she looked up reports of lost dogs from our side of town (Magee and Oldfather area, I told her).
She explained that a woman had reported 2 Shepard mixes missing at 6 this morning from Silverbell and Coachline and described one of the dogs as black. I said well that must be her. The dispatcher informed me that I could not bring in the dogs, however, because the facility had just changed its times to open at noon and “can’t receive dogs until that time.”
I said, “okay well what should i do?” She gave me the number to the lady that reported the dogs missing so I hung up and called the number. The phone went straight to voicemail. I left a message and said that I had found the dogs and would be dropping them off at a shelter, as I was running late for work. I didn’t get a call back.
I got anxious and called the Human Society, which did not answer. I called PACC AGAIN asking about what I should do and can’t they just take the dogs off my hands.
The dispatcher (same woman, I did not get her name) was really rude this time and said that there was nobody there to receive the dogs and there was nothing she could do.
I said “Well, what should I do? Just let them go to run and the street and get hit by cars?” she said “Well, I guess you’re going to have to if that’s what you want ma’m, we can’t take them.” I said “So you, a woman who works at a SHELTER, would rather have two lost dogs get hit by a car, than take them in?” She said “I can’t take them ma’m.” I hung up on her.
I called the Human Society which now had their phones open and they begged me not to bring the dogs there because of how full they were. When I mentioned the nonsense PACC put me through, she said that they weren’t open either but couldn’t take the dogs (implying that they take dogs in even if they’re technically not open unlike PACC, but didn’t want to because they were full).
She told me that if I went back to PACC and knocked on the door, someone would answer and take the dogs from me. So I drove all the way out to PACC but the gate was closed. There was a security guard. I got out and asked her to take the dogs but she said they were closed and couldn’t.
I called a good friend and dog lover in a panic (it was now 9:45) and she said to take them to a vet clinic to see if they have microchips. I took them to the animal hospital at La Canada and River, who were really nice and scanned them for free and gave me leashes and water for them. One dog had a 24 hour “Pet tracker” chip that was expired. The phone number listed was disconnected.
I called PACC AGAIN and gave the license number registered on the chip number but they did not have a record.
I called Humane Society which also did not have the chip number. I called again the lady’s number PACC gave me earlier but it was still voicemail.
By now it’s 10:30, I’m livid and the dogs are tired of being in the car.
I was out of options so I drove over to the Humane Society (between Country Club and Dodge) and knocked on the front door.
A lady came out and saw how desperate I was after I told her all that had happened and what the lady at PACC had said and she said not to worry and they took the dogs. I had to sign a release that says basically don’t file suit if we kill the dogs and had to pay $35 per dog.
All I tried to do was help some lost dogs, like I would want someone else to do for mine and I ended up 2 hours late for work, $70 poorer, out of gas and pissed off. [She ended with an obscenity, which I deleted for decorum's sake].
Pima County Animal Care Center is desperately trying to improve its image and its care for animals, including a huge push to adopt out every dog and cat it takes in so it doesn’t have to kill excess animals. But to refuse to take in strays, no matter the hour, borders on outrageous. Budget cuts led to the reduction in hours to noon to 7 p.m. weekdays, but that’s for its full services, intake and adoption. It’s intake should be open 24 hours.
The Humane Society also is not an option for good Samaritans turned away from PACC with stray dogs. Its fees pay for its services. If you can afford it, good for you, but as the Arizona Daily Star’s series on poverty shows, not everyone in Tucson can afford to pay for the privilege of aiding someone else’s lost dog by taking it to HSSA.
The moral of this story is, if PACC is closed and you don’t have the equivalent of a really nice lunch in your wallet, when you come across a lost dog, it will be better for you to pat the dog on the head and wish it good luck.
Whether that’s good for the dog is another story.