A Buckhead woman said she will keep up the social media pressure against the family and animal shelter that, she said, have blocked her from reuniting with her lost dog — but animal shelter officials said they did nothing wrong.
The dog dispute, which has drawn a viral crusade on Facebook, began when Brittany Ray’s dog Loki ran from her Buckhead home on Dec. 17. Soon after, she sought help in finding her terrier mix at Fulton County Animal Services.
Days later, the shelter released Loki for adoption. Wednesday, Ray’s roommate Kristin Orenga shared the saga in an open letter. The post has been shared more than 3,400 times.
“He is not just my dog, he is my child,” Ray, who raised Loki’s mother and was present at his birth, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I cannot put into words how emotionally distressed I feel. I plan to fight for him.”
Hundreds of Facebook users have commented on Orenga's post and expressed outrage over Fulton County Animal Shelter’s handling of the situation.
Karen Hirsch, spokeswoman for Lifeline Animal Project, the nonprofit that manages the animal shelter, told the AJC that shelter officials contacted Ray two days after her visit and told her that Loki had been rescued.
However, Hirsch said, Ray did not return the shelter’s phone call until Jan. 2, weeks after the dog had been adopted.
“We’re all sympathetic to the owner, but we followed our procedure,” Hirsch said. “Per the Fulton County ordinance, the dog is to be kept three days. On the fourth day, we put the dog up for adoption. It’s our job to get the dogs in a home as soon as possible. We did not want to put the dog down due to space.”
Though the shelter followed protocol, Hirsch said, she and the staff have supported Ray’s efforts to get Loki back.
“To not be able to get your family back, that’s something no one should have to go through,” Hirsch said. “The new owner knows what’s going on. She’s seen the Facebook posts. Maybe it will help change her mind.”
Shelter staff called the new owners Wednesday to make a final plea for Loki, but to no avail.
Ray said she was not contacted about Loki, and the “enter kennel” form, which detailed Loki’s description and tag number, should have kept Loki off the adoption list.
“Not even 24 hours after Brittany had gone in looking for him, crying, describing him, showing pictures of him, and filling out paperwork about him, there he was. However, not a single employee or volunteer took the time to check any records when the exact dog she had described was brought in,” Orenga’s Facebook letter states.
Fulton County Animal Services does not review those forms, Hirsch said, because there is not enough manpower to field the dozens of missing dogs reported each day. The forms are used to ensure the public does not falsely claim a dog they didn’t own.
Ray hopes the social media support and possible legal counsel will bring Loki home.
“Not sure what that (legal action) entails yet, but I will not give up on him," Ray said. “I am grateful that he is safe and loved, but he is my life.”